Charadium Sketches Out a Unique Approach to Social iPhone Games

CharadiumWhile many iPhone games come with social features like leaderboards, achievements, and occasional challenges help, via third-parties, the games quite often aren’t social in their own right. A creative take on pictionary, by the name of Charadium, from On5, challenges that generalization.

The game uses ngmoco’s Plus+ platform, but while that feature plays a strong role in the game’s social prowess, it is hardly the focal point. Best described as an online, multiplayer marriage of charades and pictionary, Charadium is a social app all on its own.

GuessingUsing either WiFi or 3G, players connect with other app users (this can also be limited to just friends) and play against one another in full games of 15 rounds (don’t worry, there is an option for quick games too). One person will draw, and the others guess. If you’re on the guessing end, the makeshift artist will begin to draw something, pictionary-style, based on a mystery word that only they know. Given the standard iPhone keyboard, players will type their guesses until someone gets it right, earning them points.

Obviously, ease of guessing the right word often depends on the artistic prowess of the person drawing, so the game does try to help out as needed, eventually displaying how many letters are in the word, filling in letters, and auto-correcting misspelled words.

At the end of a round, a new artist is selected. In this case, the mystery word is presented to them and could be something as simple as “tea,” or more ambiguous like “emptiness.” From here, the player uses the touch screen to draw and a basic palette to change their pen color. Granted, it’s not Photoshop, but it’s enough to get the job done. Moreover, points are awarded to the person drawing based on how quickly their work is deciphered.

DrawingThe Plus+ integration include in-game achievements to add further longevity (though since its multiplayer, it already has a hefty lifespan), as well as leaderboards. The game’s results can be shared with others via email, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also view game log results and your drawings at Charadium.com using a “room code” granted at the end of each game.

Frankly, the game is a ton of fun and a great adaptation on classic analog games. In fact, the only complaint to be had doesn’t even come from the design side at all. As with most online games that give any sort of user control (even something as simple as chat), there are the random, immature morons that have to come in and draw offensive and obscene content. Thankfully, you can boot them out of games, but it is still very obnoxious.

Iif you’re looking for a simple, yet extremely fun and addictive game, Charadium comes highly recommended at $0.99.