ScribbleMix provides a breath of fresh air to the Draw Something formula.
When Draw Something was released last year, its impact was unlike any mobile or social game before it. The game featured no competition, no scoreboard, and no achievements. Two players drawing pictures for one another was enough to make the game feel more social than most social games before it. Now, Disney has entered the drawing game space with ScribbleMix, which takes that simplicity of Draw Something and adds its own style. It lacks some originality, but it still manages to feel fresh and fun.
The basic premise of ScribbleMix is simple: one player has to draw a given phrase, while the other player needs to guess what they’re trying to illustrate. It’s a process that feels instantly familiar to anyone who played Draw Something, but it comes with a few unique tweaks. First off, players will always have to illustrate a phrase instead of a single word. While Draw Something may ask players to draw “sheriff,” ScribbleMix is more likely to give “Sheriff boxing on a ship.” ScribbleMix‘s phrases always come in two or three parts: a character, an action, and a location. If players don’t like their given phrase, they can re-spin using in-game gold, or spin a specific category using gems (the premium currency).
Drawing the phrase is a simple process that will feel comfortable for most players. Equipped with just a pen and eraser, players are initially given six colors to bring life to their phrase. This may not seem like much, but it forces players to be creative with their ideas and create something special. The multi-part phrase setup can prove to be difficult for less artistically-minded players. Illustrating something like “Penguin teaching in quicksand” requires a bit of detail. Some players will have no issue drawing anything, while others will be likely to re-spin until they find something in their comfort zone.
On the other side of the canvas, the player guessing the phrase has an easier job. Disney seems aware that guessing the phrases in ScribbleMix would be overly difficult if they asked users to type everything in. Instead, each part of the phrase is given a multiple choice option. Sometimes, the options are silly and obviously wrong. If the drawer is making “frog,” the guesser is not going to be likely to pick “fireman.” On the other hand, some options can be dangerously close, such as “dancing” and “celebrating.” These options don’t seem randomly generated, but they usually fall more on the silly side, making ScribbleMix much easier than it would be otherwise.
After a round, players are graded on their progress, earning between zero and three stars: one for each part of the phrase that was correct. Stars don’t serve a huge purpose other than leading to coins, one of the in-game currencies. As players earn stars (for drawing or guessing), they’re rewarded with coins. Coins are used to purchase almost everything in-game, including re-spins, more colors, and gems, the other currency. Gems allow for category-specific re-spins, but don’t carry a ton of weight otherwise. More coins are available via in-app purchase, but most players will be more than happy with what’s earned in-game.
There are other issues that accompany the experience. ScribbleMix had a tendency to crash from time to time during the review period. It didn’t happen frequently, but enough to provide a heads-up. Ads will also annoy many players. The menu contains a banner ad, but the bigger annoyance is the frequent full-screen ads. These can be removed permanently with a purchase, and players who plan to put a lot of time into ScribbleMix will likely take that route.
It’s tough to say how I feel about ScribbleMix. It’d be easy to kick it to the curb and just call it another Draw Something clone, but after spending time with it, it feels much more like its own game. Drawing entire phrases can be intimidating for those of us who struggle to draw a single word, but the multiple choice setup for guessing makes up for that difficulty. If you were a Draw Something fan, but felt like it needed a breath of fresh air, ScribbleMix may be exactly what you’re looking for.