Word Chums offers the standard multiplayer gameplay you've come to expect from any take on Scrabble, as you'll be challenged to make words using randomly assigned letter tiles. The longer the word, the more points you'll earn, and the expected boosts are available on the board: multiplier squares for both letters and words, for instance.
There are a couple of power-ups that make the game at least somewhat unique, including hints that will show you where you should build your next word for the most points, and bombs that will allow you to swap out your current selection of letter tiles for new ones without losing your turn. These power-ups are limited, one-time-use objects, but you can purchase additional units once you run out.
It's fairly telling that one of the biggest selling points of Word Chums is the fact that letter tiles will turn green for instant feedback as to whether or not the word is real, as this really isn't that big of an advancement in the word game space. That is, I've never personally found the traditional method of simply hitting submit and waiting for feedback to be that big of a deal, so are these differences between Word Chums and Words with Friends enough to make you download and potentially purchase another new game (the $2.99 paid version comes without ads), especially if it's one your friends likely aren't playing because they're still playing Words with Friends?
To be fair, Word Chum's inclusion of 2 vs 2 team play is also nice, but if you're forced to play only with strangers, there's no guarantee that you'll be hooked up with someone with a "matching" vocabulary to your own (that is, these players might pull you down if you have to rely on them to score big). In addition, an in-game dictionary is a nice touch if you don't know what a word means, but since the game simply wouldn't let a player play an incorrect word, it's not as though this dictionary was a necessary addition to help you check for accuracy. Finally, the game offers stat tracking so you can see how many times you've won or lost a game, and how many points you earn for some words.
Gallery: Word Chums on iOS
While Word Chums comes with a list of features that might be appealing to some, they're ultimately very simple additions that rarely actually affect the gameplay (the power-ups notwithstanding). Sure, the bomb power-ups are nice in that you won't lose your turn when selecting new tiles, but the hint power-ups are essentially useless, as they don't give you any hint as to what letters you should use - they just tell you which letter you should build off of.
Unfortunately, Word Chums' adorable graphics and cute critter characters (that can be upgraded with clothing items and accessories) aren't enough to make the game instantly recommendable, as the core game is still just another take on Scrabble, with extras that you might not even use or care about thrown in for depth.
Click here to download Word Chums on iTunes --->
What do you think of Word Chums? Do you think the game is better than Words with Friends? Sound off in the comments!