Zynga hangs on iPhone in Hanging with Friends: Fuhgettabout pen and paper

Hanging with Friends
Your days of filling notebook margins with games of Hangman are over. Zynga released its first original mobile game since Mafia Wars Atlantic City hit mobile devices last year, Hanging with Friends, today. Developed by Texas-based Zynga subsidiary Zynga with Friends, Hanging with Friends is a mobile multiplayer take on the classic two-player puzzle game Hangman.

The game is available now on the Canadian Apple App Store, with a wider release to other regional App Stores coming in the next few days. Players, much like in Newtoy Zynga with Friends' first game, Words with Friends, will take turns alternating between guessing words and creating their own word puzzles. But more is at stake than just being right--how about falling into a pit of lava? That's just a glimpse of what Zynga with Friends VP and GM Paul Bettner showed us during a preview.

The game takes Hangman and turns the heat up with colorful, vibrant backdrops and a list of avatar characters for players to choose from to represent themselves. Not to mention avatars add a level of urgency to getting your guesses just right--"Get this answer right or Mr. Stubbles gets it!" Like the first "with Friends" game, play is completely turn-based, meaning players don't have to react to their opponent's moves immediately. (Yes, your friends who never respond to Words with Friends request are probably going to ignore these too--after awhile.)

Hanging with Friends iPhone
See Gallery
Zynga hangs on iPhone in Hanging with Friends: Fuhgettabout pen and paper

Players who start games will create the first word, while the recipient must guess the word in question. Incorrect guesses will result in a strike; lose all of your strikes and you will lose the round and a balloon that your cute little stubby avatar is holding onto for dear life. As your opponent loses or otherwise, you can trash talk them just like before in a familiar chat room that looks as if your sending text messages to whomever you're playing with. And, of course, push notifications will remind you to react when a friend makes a move.

Hanging with Friends in action
Instead of going for the no-nonsense approach of bringing players the core game of Hangman with Facebook Connect and Twitter integration (all of which it has), like it did with Words with Friends, Zynga with Friends added plenty more gameplay options. When you're low on strikes left and afraid of failure, take on one of the game's three lifelines: Extinguish, Revive and Suspects. The first will remove four letters in the available pool that are definitely not in the mystery word, the second will restore one strike to your available total (giving you a much-needed breather) and the third reveals four letters, one of which is definitely in the mystery word.

As you play rounds of Hanging with Friends, a small golden meter will fill. Once it reaches the other side and resets to zero, you will be reward with a few Coins. These Coins can be used to buy your own lifelines and other items in the Coin Store, which will be added to game sometime after release for in-game micro-transactions. At launch, the game will be available in an ad-supported free version and an ad-free version for $.99.

Hanging with Friends over lava
According to Bettner, Hanging with Friends has lots of room for humor and creativity--he created the word "snot" in a puzzle during our preview--that of which can be enjoyed in 20 games simultaneously. Hanging with Friends looks decidedly different from Words with Friends while constantly reminding gamers that, yes, this is a Zynga with Friends game. All of the familiar sounds have been included and much of the same user interface is present as well. However, this is a far more colorful and vivid game from the developer that looks to bring the same "special sauce," as Bettner puts it, that the studio is known for. Quite frankly, I think we just found our next mobile time-killer of choice.

Do you think Hanging with Friends could become the next, well, Words with Friends? What type of game are you looking for on mobile from Zynga or elsewhere? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
Read Full Story