Racking brains is always fun for me- whether its a quick challenge in Sudoku or figuring out what component of my computer failed. Yes, I’m a geek. I’m also a dinosaur who used to play board games long before computers became popular. And of of my favorite games used to be scrabble. Sadly I never continued playing scrabble because it involved more time than I could spare in one sitting. So I was pleasantly surprised when I was introduced to Kalimat on the iPhone which can best be described as my favorite word game on the go.
In the interest of full disclosure, Kalimat is published by AppsArabia and their office is located just a couple of doors away from us. Like almost everyone else, we love promoting local talent, however, that does not effect our judgment towards a product.
Traditionally, Scrabble is played with players sitting around a board but with the extremely busy lifestyle of today, that isn’t something that is possible for me. So Kalimat, which means Keywords in Arabic, lets you enjoy the game at your leisure. You start off by choosing an online opponent either randomly or from your list of friends. OpenFeint is integrated for you to track achievements against other players online. Alternatively, you can go offline by passing the iPhone between players.
Kalimat is available in English and Arabic and starts off in either of those depending on which language is set as the default on your iPhone. The developers have used the Apple dictionary to verify your words which gives a fair ground to all players. There are two versions to the game- Normal and Remix. Normal is your average game of scrabble while the remix mode adds some cool features such as rewarding you with more points if you play quickly or swap your tiles without missing a turn (once per session). Also included in the remix version is a secret hidden square called Ali Baba that gives you fifty additional points. The square is randomized for each game.
Laying tiles on the board is pretty easy as you can double tap the screen to zoom-in on a section. Even without zooming in, I only had an issue once trying to plug the tile in the right square. Other small touches include a shake to undo tiles you’ve placed on the board or reshuffle your tiles in your tray. You can tell that the developers have certainly put a lot of polish into the game- the graphics are very crisp and the minimal sound lets you concentrate on the game.
Considering the game is fairly new, I had to wait for a while to find an opponent to play online but when you do, you can play the game at your own pace by jumping in the game, forming a word and then getting back out to other tasks. Once your opponent plays their turn, you get a push notification and when you accept that and get back into the game, you timer starts ticking. I did manage to crash the game once randomly but considering that I played it for a couple of hours in multiple sessions, that’s not a bad thing.
Overall, I’m mighty impressed with Kalimat- it offers you an excellent experience of playing scrabble and I’m not just saying that because the game is developed locally. It costs $2.99 on the AppStore which I believe is an awesome price to grab the game, however, I think a free and Lite version will help the game gain more recognition as is the case for most new developers.