Scrabble Go is loaded with too many distracting bells and...

Scrabble Go is loaded with too many distracting bells and whistles. Credit: Scopely

NAME Scrabble Go

WHAT IT IS It's the popular word game on steroids — you won't be able to hear yourself think from all the bells and whistles.

HOW MUCH Free, in-app purchases from 99 cents and up

COMPATIBLE WITH iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, requires iOS 10.0 or later; Android 5.0 and up

MY SAY Its predecessor, Electronic Arts' Scrabble app, was terrific. The design was simple and straightforward, with moves from swap to pass (pun intended) spelled out clearly.

Earlier this month, that app was shut down and replaced by Scopely's Scrabble Go, which thinks it's the latest word, but is hampered by cartoonish graphics and a design that's busier than the Long Island Expressway at rush hour.

Moves are followed by obnoxious pop-ups that alert you of prizes you've earned but with no explanation on how to use them. Scrabble purists may not embrace some of the perks (cheats?), such as a lightning bolt icon that you click on to automatically make a word if you're stuck. Those features can be disabled by the app's best kept secret, Classic Mode. To access, click on your player profile pic, hit the gear icon in the upper right hand corner, select Mode Setting in the bottom right corner and then choose Classic Mode, which offers traditional gameplay.

Worst of all, are the annoying ads after each move. EA's app offered a well-worth-it, one-time-only fee of $4.99 for an ad-free version. For ad-free Scrabble Go, you have to join the subscription-based Scrabble Club ($4.99 a month for the souped-up version which includes unlimited use of learning tools and other perks; $7.99 every 90 days for Classic Mode). That's like exchanging a Z for an A.

BOTTOM LINE It's not even close to being letter perfect.

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