If I didn't know better, I'd have guessed that I just finished playing Draw Something 3 on my iPhone. But no, that's not the case at all. Despite the familiar feeling, this is not a mobile game from Zynga and OMGPOP (they're not exactly in game making mode these days), but instead is the first mobile-exclusive game from Disney Interactive -- ScribbleMix! And no, it has nothing to do with Dub Step. This video game is all about doodles. Sorry, I mean scribbles. And monsters!
As you might be able to guess from the app icon, the House of Mouse is using the new title to help promote the upcoming Pixar feature Monsters University. But this is not a Monsters U game. The Pixar content is part of a limited-time Monsters University Pack. ScribbleMix is its own thing, even though it's pretty much Draw Something 3. And much like those Draw Something games, the basic concept of ScribbleMix is something you're by now pretty familiar with.
In ScribbleMix, players take on one another in that familiar setup where one person sketches something out based on a clue and the other tries to guess the answer. But after playing it for a little bit, I noticed a couple of differences that set this game apart.
In addition to the Monsters movie content and Disney pedigree, you can combine words to form multi-part word combos, instead of just picking from a list of one thing. Kind of like a pre-selected Mad Libs.
For instance, the first one I had to guess was "King Partying In a Castle" which was chopped up into three separate guesses of "King," "Partying," and "Castle." All in all, the selections from which you must choose to both doodle out and guess seem much more creative and noticeably deeper than the Draw Something pool had to offer, with plenty of words and phrases to choose from that constitute an amusing batch.
Though my time with it so far has not been extensive, I have not come across any repeats. The Monsters University Pack also offers up words that are taken from characters and elements found in the upcoming movie.
After you boot up the game, you will be granted 200 free coins and 10 free gems. The coins in ScribbleMix are used to get new words and phrases to draw, in case you don't like the lot you're given. Kind of like a slot machine. Gems are a little more valuable, in that you can use a batch to unlock new packs of content. Of course, both are available for in-app purchase when you run out.
The free version of the game comes with ads, but if you buy it for a buck, you can get an ad-free version. Not surprisingly, ScribbleMix is also heavily aligned with social media. One of the first things you are prompted to do is link your Facebook account to the game in order to help you see what friends you have playing and to also easily share whatever terrible drawing you just completed. The horror!
With all of that said, here's an essential question though: do we really need this game? It would be easy to write ScribbleMix off as just a cheap Draw Something clone, cashing in on an established mobile genre that's sure to inspire some immediate, frantic, and addictive gameplay. Perfect for building up the momentum around a movie. And part of me wants to do this.
But then again, it's not like Draw Something was breaking all that much new ground itself, since it was pretty much just Pictionary on mobile phones. In other words, it's not fair to write off a side scroller for being a side scroller, or a puzzle game for being a puzzle game. So in that sense, it's only fair to treat ScribbleMix as its own thing, providing that it is contributing something new. And after playing around with it for a bit, I can safely say that it is.