Can you draw? No? Who cares! Charadium sure doesn’t! (An iPhone App Review)

na na na na na na na na LEADER na na na na na na na na LEADER ('leaderboard' was the correct answer)

When I was in kindergarten, I couldn’t draw or color. Staying inside the lines was just not in my DNA. Not remotely. It’s like I didn’t even know the lines were there. I’d be handed a picture to color, and would take a crayon and just start scribbling anywhere. Sometimes, but not always, on the paper I’d been given. According to my teacher (who also happens to be my mom, so this comes from a reliable source), one day she sat me at a table with other children who COULD draw well, thinking that maybe some of their ability would influence me.

When I saw how much better their coloring was, I started to cry. True story.

Even though I work in the advertising industry where graphic design rules the order of the day, clearly I’m not an artist. Thank the baby Jebus that an app like Charadium exists, to level the playing field and bring everyone else down to my level. As long as you’ve got the most basic, rudimentary motor skills and a decent spelling ability at your disposal, you’ve got everything you need.

If, like most other iOS device owners, you’ve kicked around playing Scrabble in Words With Friends, you’ll feel right at home in this online Pictionary clone. Launch app, create account, tap ‘Quick Play’, and you’re automatically dropped into a game with 4 or 5 other people for some hot finger-on-screen drawing and guessing action.

Forget fine-point pencils and cross-hatch shading techniques. This is doing to to the world of fine art the same thing that Leonidas and the Spartans did to the Persians in 300. Drawing with your fingertip is far from a precise art, but that’s ok. When your turn to draw comes up, just start scribbling. The game gives you a bit of time to think about what you’re going to draw before you start, so you can put a bit of thought into it. As time winds down, you generally see people just start scrawling the word itself across the screen in order for someone to score something in a given turn.

Scoring is simple: first person to guess the word gets points. The faster a word is guessed, the more points are doled out. Play until a game ends or you feel like stopping. You can also add friends to a buddy list and start a game with people you know, but where’s the fun in that? Clearly adding me (‘humantorch’) to your buddy list would be a horrible, horrible idea and you should never do that EVER.

I see you've started spelling the word 'Knockers,' sir. Truly, you are this generation's Shakespeare.

The only real downside I found while playing this is John Gabriel’s Greater Internet F***wad Theory, which states that a Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total F***wad, and sadly this is (rarely) the case. Since there’s no way to actually know who the strangers you’re playing with are, you will occasionally get some jackass who just starts drawing wangs (or less rudely, just starts spelling the word out right at the start) when it’s his turn. There is a “report abuse” function, but this is probably of little use since said jackass can create a new account with a new username in about 30 seconds. Granted, I only saw this twice, so I don’t think it’s all that common, but just so you know, it’s out there.

That one issue aside, this is good fun. I’ve kinda burned out on Words With Friends, so this has been a nice change of pace.

Charadium for the iPhone is available on the App Store free of charge for the basic version or for $2.99 for the Pro version. An iPad version is also available for $4.99.

A 33 year old Canadian expat currently plying his trade as a Senior Interactive Developer at Crispin Porter + Bogusky Europe in Göteborg, Sweden, Scott can also be found on the Twitters and occasionally blogging about his travels. He likes… Full Bio