Scrabble (TM) Crossword Game for PalmOS

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, send e-mail
Published by: Handmark, go to the web site
Requires: PalmOS 3.0 or later (color or monochrome), 2MB RAM minimum; Windows 95 or higher or MacOS 8.5-9.x with Palm Desktop, compatible HotSync cradle or cable; CD-ROM drive
MSRP: $29.99

There are only a few genuinely popular family games which have withstood the test of time. Starting off as board games, evolving into ever fancier formats, then moving to the Atari and Amiga, PC and Mac, these games captured and continue to capture the interest of generations of players around the world. The best of them - RISK, Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue and Mahjong - have been translated into almost every written language in the world. The games survive and continue to flourish because of two key factors: 2-4 players are ideal and the complexity and challenge of the games vary with the skill of the players. The success of these game concepts is remarkable. Scrabble is the latest of the classics to make the jump to PalmOS.

Handmark and Infogrames Interactive, Inc. have managed to effectively condense the larger board, tile and letter tray context of Scrabble into the small-screen format of the PDA. The layout is easy to understand and most people familiar with typical software interfaces on PalmOS will be up and running without having to read the instructions. We tested Scrabble on four different PDAs (everybody in our research office has a PDA these days): Sony Clie PEG-S360 (greyscale PalmOS 4.0), Sony Clie N760C (color PalmOS 4.1), Handspring Visor Prism (color PalmOS 3.5) and a Palm M105 (monochrome PalmOS 3.5). Scrabble installed and ran flawlessly on all of the PDAs. Game play is easy to execute: tap a letter in your tray, then tap a location on the Scrabble board to move the letter into position. If the word is not accepted, you tap each letter to return it to your tray and try again.

Our initial forays into Scrabble sessions with the Palm as our opponent were somewhat frustrating. The Palm shows no sympathy for your rusty vocabulary, trotting out words such as "ae" "re" and dozens of two-letter, multi-word combinations. You may be stretched to your limits in very short order. Palm beat me 10 straight games in its Novice mode before I got my first victory. It took two and a half weeks before I was confident enough to challenge the Palm in its Intermediate level. There are four levels at which Palm can be set as your opponent: Beginner, Novice, Intermediate and Expert. Up to four players can go at it - there's a setting for Human. In fact any 1, 2, 3, or 4 player combination of humans and Palm can be set up.

After three weeks of varied play by at least 4 different people, there were no crashes, glitches or incompatibilities with other programs on the PDAs.

Cons: Due to range limitations inherent in most PalmOS PDAs in use right now, infrared games can be problematic. In addition, you need at least two different licenses to play via beaming, which isn't likely to interest very many families (we purchased an extra license to do this review). The dictionary which PalmOS uses in Novice mode is extensive enough to be very hard to beat, even for vocabulary freaks. Only average looking in monochrome or greyscale.

Pros: The implementation of the game is faithful to the original in most important ways except tile pickup after your turn - the game adds tiles to your rack for you. Terrific in color; acceptable in monochrome or greyscale. From time to time you will be playing this for hours on end - it's a lot of fun. The installed dictionaries are extensive enough to challenge your vocabulary no matter how literate you are. Handmark has a winner. Highly recommended.

Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to:




© Copyright 2000-2006 All rights reserved. legal notice
home | previous reviews | forums | about us | search | store | subscribe


Forums Search Home Previous Reviews About Us Store Subscribe