Pictionary-Inspired Charadium Series Returns to Original Developer On5

A third time may be the charm for Lithuanian developer On5 Games.

The studio’s take on popular social drawing game Pictionary is coming to the iOS app store for the third time in the form of Charadium II, released in December.

The original Charadium was originally released back in December 2009. It was quickly noticed by iOS publisher Ngmoco, which purchased the rights to the game. Charadium was later spun off into a freemium Ngmoco title known as We Doodle, which incorporated a variety of social game elements such as experience points and a pay-to-play mechanic.

But after Ngmoco diverted its resources into building the Mobage network afte being acquired by Japan’s DeNA and other games like RPG Skyfall, both Charadium and We Doodle were shut down this fall. Ngmoco returned the rights back to On5, with the end result being this newest entry in the Charadium series.

Charadium II is essentially Pictionary without the board. Players take turns to pick from one of three provided words of varying difficulty and must then sketch it in real-time for other players to guess in the text chat facility.

Players receive points for correct guesses, with more points on offer for more difficult words. Their progress against each other in a match is tracked on a graphical leaderboard. The game offers both “Classic” and “King of the Hill” modes, with the main difference being that in Classic mode, players simply take turns to draw over the course of 15 rounds, while in King of the Hill mode, whichever player tops the leaderboard gets to draw next.

Alongside these two real-time modes, a third mode known as Ping Pong allows for asynchronous play, with push notifications sent to players’ devices when it is their turn to draw or guess. This functions like one of Zynga’s “With Friends” games, where players can have several games going on all at once.

The game also tracks players’ statistics, including their guessing success rate; their worldwide and local location-based rankings, their best drawings and even their favorite colors and drawing tools.

Four versions of Charadium II are available on the App Store. There are free and paid versions for the iPhone and iPod Touch and then HD editions for iPad. The free versions are ad-supported and only allow the use of a very limited selection of drawing tools and colors. Paid versions, which cost $1.99 for iPhone or iPod touch and $2.99 for iPad, offer a wider selection of tools and a full selection of colors. They also remove all advertisements from the game. Both free and paid players can play together in multiplayer matches.

For previous paying players of either Charadium or We Doodle, On5 will gift a free paid version of the new app. Players can take advantage of the offer by emailing on5neverforgets@on-5.com with their Plus+ username from the old games, and the developer will provide a gift copy of either the iPhone or iPad paid versions of Charadium II.

This offer is only valid until January 10, 2011 for customers using the U.S. App Store, since the new versions are provided through Apple’s iTunes gift system. You’ll be able to track Charadium II and Charadium II Free‘s progress in the App Store charts using our traffic tracking application AppData.