Depict Review

Pictionary is SO last year. Depict is hot, and free. Like your mom?

So far at every GDC event there have been at least a couple indie titles that really stand out from the pack. Last year there was Doodle Jump (and look where it is now!). This year there are a couple, and Depict, by Makeshift Games, is definitely one of them. I sat down to give this game the “hands on” treatment, and got sucked in for over an hour! It’s because of this, and the fact that the game has been out since January, that I’m writing a review instead. This is a game that needs to be played!

Did I mention that it’s completely free?

At it’s roots, depict is a simple online Pictionary game for your iDevice. But that’s just the roots. You will have to dig through layers and layers of loving 8-bit polish and style to find those roots. Everything about Depict is what I expect from top-tier iPhone developers.

The correct answer was Africa. Fail.

The correct answer was Africa. Fail.

Very fast and clean menus, extremely intuitive user interface, lag-free online environment, smart friend invite system, etc etc. This this game was made by just two guys. That’s damn impressive.

Rather than most other draw-and-guess games that make you write or type out a word, Depict will offer 2-6 answer choices as someone is drawing. Of course, these choices all relate to each other, so depending on the artistic ability of the person at the board, the game could be really tough or really easy. If someone did a great job on their picture, or really sucked, you can rate them 1-5 stars. This is used to determine which pictures go into the “Lightning Round” mode, which I will discuss in a sec.

You score points based on how fast you guess the right answer, and how many people are in the game. If there is a full room of 5, you would get 4 points for being the 1st correct guess, 3 for the 2nd correct, and so on. In the same idea, if you are the one drawing the image, you score progressively more points based on how many other people guessed correctly. It’s easy to jump into the lead quickly with a great drawing, but then you’re at the mercy of the other players to maintain that lead. Throughout the game, you express yourself using a variety of emote faces that can easily be toggled. There is no chat in the game, and I’m happy with this, as emoting with little faces is quite fun. ^_^

There are two in-app purchases that can certainly enhance your experience, but aren’t a necessity. The first is the ability to create custom avatars. Using a simple pixel editor, you can make your own faces or objects to use as emotes in the game. For another 99 cents, you can unlock the “Lightning Round” which takes the better rated images from the original game, and asks you to guess as many as you can in 60 seconds. The images are all fully drawn, and the answers are on the bottom. So it’s a battle of speed to see who can guess the most pictures the most quickly. Unfortunately, there were quite a few terrible images in this mode, and some were just random words. Hopefully there will be a way to filter out the crap images on the server end in the future.

To put it simply, Depict is my new Doodle Jump. Feel free to add me (“tgmatt”) if you want to be challenged. Let me warn you though, I’m quite the pixel art master! Oh yeah, and the ability to play with minimal lag on EDGE or 3G, in addition to wifi, is just icing on the poorly drawn, pixelicious cake.



Depict – FREE (with in-app optional paid content)

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  • STP_Tim

    I liked this when I tried it out some time back, but my preference for Pictionary is Charadium.

  • Matt Dunn, USA

    Yeah that’s a good one too. I like this one better because of the style and the lack of a need to type anything. I’m not a big fan of the iPhone keyboard heh. ;)

  • AnotherTim

    The only problem is that when you play, all the knobs you play with just write the answer in word form so they can get their points. Totally defeats the purpose of the game and ruins it. If you can find non-douches to play with, it’s fun.

  • Matt Dunn, USA

    I didn’t mention it in the review, but there’s an extremely simple way to report these people for cheating – via the little whistle icon you can see in the screenshots at the top left. I only had to do it once in an hour of playing. Of course, with games like this, you’ll always have the morons cheating or drawing cocks. Goes with the territory!

  • AnotherTim

    The whistle is not good enough. I think a smashing of the balls is required in this situation. Unless they’re drawing cocks. I mean that is pretty funny stuff, amirite?

  • Matt Dunn, USA

    Haha I was so tempted to do it myself, but half the pictures other people draw end up looking phallic enough as it is! :D

  • Bellymama19 @OpenFeint

    Hey Matt,

    What’s your OpenFeint name? I’ll challenge you. :)


  • Bellymama19 @OpenFeint

    Just seeing it now. :)