Bananagrams

 
(i)

 

Word game with a safe online multiplayer focus.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The rules are simple. Moving the tiles around can be a bit tricky at times, since they are so small. You can zoom in, to make it easier, but then there's a chance that you'll forget or miss a tile that's hidden off screen.

Violence
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Sex
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Language
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Consumerism
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Privacy & safety

Bananagrams is focused on multiplayer games. After selecting a screen name and profile pic (or uploading your own pic), players join a group of strangers to see who can complete tile grid the fastest. Players can put others on their "buddy" list, and these people can then issue direct challenges for head-to-head games.

Kids can send "buddy" requests to strangers, who can then play head-to-head, one-on-one games with them. Players can also block other players from contacting them with challenges. There is no chatting.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bananagrams, a word game along the lines of Scrabble, has a solo mode, but the app is geared toward multiplayer gaming. With only a screen name and icon to represent them, kids can play in large online groups. They can also invite people, including strangers, to become their "buddies." Buddies can challenge each other to one-on-one games. There is no chatting. However, there is obviously some cheating, based on too-good-to-be-true scores on the leaderboards.

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QUALITY
 

BANANAGRAMS plays like a free-form version of Scrabble -- there's no board, no grid; just a table on which players create and link words using the set of letter tiles selected. Playing solo is basically just practice. The real game is in the online multiplayer parlors. There players will find sometimes a dozen others all working to see who can use of all their tiles the fastest. The size of the tiles can make them tricky to move sometimes, and there will likely be occasion when a player accidentally moves the wrong letter, or several letters at once. It's not too frequent, but can be annoying. Sadly, there are also players who have found a way to cheat: The leaderboards, which list the fastest times, show players who supposedly used all their tiles in as little as one second -- a physical impossibility.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$0.99
Release date:September 29, 2009
Category:Word Games
Publisher:Majesco Entertainment
Version:1.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS 2.0 or later

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bydr duck November 3, 2010
 

Board game doesnt port well onto iPhone.

Overall it is bad...
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