Zynga's What's the Phrase is an asynchronous multiplayer game that borrows elements from Wheel of Fortune. Users compete against each other to guess answers to a variety of word puzzles spread across more than 40 different categories, including movies, TV shows, video game characters and American history. While not the most original of ideas, the sheer number of topics and ability to host multiple games make this a favorite.
Just like in Wheel of Fortune, the game displays a series of tiles on-screen representing letters, and guessing the word before your opponent is the primary goal. If the first question that popped into your head was "why shouldn't I just play Wheel of Fortune," What's the Phrase manages to separate itself from the longstanding game show.
The developers achieved this by giving players flexibility. Gamers receive three chances to guess letters per turn. Not only do they spin a wheel each time to assign points to their guesses, but they can also spend gold coins to activate power-ups, which include bonus spins, free consonants, one that eliminates letters and another that drops three hidden bombs onto the letter board that, when pressed by one's opponent, causes him or her to lose 2,000 points.
The fact that Zynga lets players take part in several games at once means there's almost always a puzzle to solve, thanks to a dedicated community. Where the company gets you is with virtual currency. Power-ups, most categories and vowels cost gold coins. The game throws a few your way for reaching certain point thresholds, but to ensure an even playing field, you may need to stock up early and often.
That, however, isn't necessarily annoying. It's the constant stream of ads that may get on your nerves, at least with the free version. Want them gone? If so, get ready to spend $2.99 for the premium edition. Considering most smartphone and tablet games sell for $0.99, three bucks seems a bit ridiculous for a word game; on a side note, the visuals look noticeably low res.
Our suggestion? Stick with the free download and make the occasional in-app purchase if you wish. Do that, and What's the Phrase will likely become one of your favorite puzzle games.