Depict, by Makeshift Games is the iPhone take on the guess the picture classic game. The concept of one person drawing while other guess has been very popular from the 80's thanks to board games like Pictionary. It was even a TV show.
The concept is easy to pick up and the way it's set makes the game fluid and entertaining. The players must identify a word while one of the players draw it. Using the finger, one of the players must draw a word so the rest can identify it. The rest of the players will observe in their iPhone screens in real time how the picture is drawn. They will be given a multiple answers and they'll have to guess the right one. When everyone has selected an answer or the time runs out, the round is over and it will be the turn for the next person to draw.
This mechanic of drawing in one turn and guess in the rest is fun. You might not want to draw every turn. Most of us are not great at painting, or we might not even be in the mood for it! Depict gives you the opportunity to opt out from drawing if you don't like the assigned word you have to paint.
Unlike the original Pictionary, there are no teams in Depict. Everyone is supposed to work collectively: The player drawing will want everyone to guess correctly and fast. The players guessing will want to get the right answer faster than the other players to obtain more points. A premature wrong answer will leave you out. In this case other players will be able to spend more time guessing. So there is some strategy going on there as well.
In Depict, you're connected through OpenFeint with your friends and with other online players. All the treats and achievements are enabled. There is a single player mode where you guess pictures that, I believe, other people have drawn. During the beta testing the images displayed in the solo mode kept repeating quite often, but I guess this will change as Depict goes live. Apart from drawing/guessing there are more ways to interact with other players:
- Change the facial expression of your avatar during the game
- Rate the picture with a star system
- Blow the whistle to report inappropriate content.
I'm not sure to what extent the rating system helps players to get more points, but that would be cool, since there are some creative artists out there. The graphic style that Makeshift Games have chosen for Depict is very good. Not only because it's trendy (see HookChamp and Cabby for a pixelart style). It is relevant to the game. When you draw, the lines won't be curvy and smooth. They'll be thick and pixelated, making the game very special and sort of original.
As simple as it sounds, I think is a fantastic mix of small good things, that leaves you with a classic game take with a fresh approach and a lot of potential. This is a game that I can see myself going back to it and have fun every time. From my experience, it is not about drawing a realistic representation of the word, but to get the minimal expression that represents it's spirit. I love the fact that to represent the word "Stab" I draw a very simple knife with blood and every player knows instantly that I'm referring to "stab". Depict is more how on earth can I let these guys know I'm drawing a boy, but not a man, a grandfather, a woman of a girl. Easy? Try that with 200 pixels on your iPhone.
Depict has been sent for approval and it should be available at the App Store shortly.