For this week’s critical play, I chose to examine Skribbl.io, made by @ticedev on Twitter. Skribbl.io is a browser game designed for up to 12 players where each player will take turns drawing a prompt (usually from a set of predetermined words, but custom words are the way to go) which the remaining players will then try to decipher and recover the original word from. The drawer gets points for everyone who correctly guesses their word and the guessers get points for getting the word right based on their speed. With the addition of custom words, this game can be played by just about anyone, and laughs are always close by.
Formally, this game has only a few real actions: when selected to draw, a player can guess from a set of a few words and then draw their chosen word, while players who are guessing only have the option to type words as their guesses. The game aides the guessers by giving them the number of letters as underscores ( _ _ _ _ _ for horse, as an example) and slowly adding letters as the timer ticks down. The real fun of the game though comes not from the conquest of your peers as you guess cartoon scribbles faster than them, but by trash talking them over voice chat while doing it. This feels like a game made for discord groups to hop in and draw random, wacky, abstract pieces that somehow totally resemble the given word, and it works so so well when that’s the format it takes.
To that end, this is almost exclusively a social game. While there’s some satisfaction to be had from making a nice drawing, you could do that on your own in paint, so the real reason to play is the companionship and, maybe, the competition.
Skribbl.io differentiates itself from other judging games by not really being a judging game. Nobody is deciding the merit of your drawing in game for any reason since your success is directly tied to theirs. Instead, Skribbli.io is a judging game only in the sense that if you draw poorly you get berated to oblivion by the rest of the lobby who demand to know (without fail) how in the h*** that was supposed to be a hockey match??
7/10, great game, could use better music.