I'm a sucker for party games, so when Anu Media came out with iShout Pro—an iPhone version of Catchphrase, a game where Taboo meets Hot Potato—I had to get in on the action.
The Price: $US0.99
The Game: If you've never played Catchphrase before, the concept of the game is simple: As a timer counts down, you must get your team to guess the phrase on the screen—let's call it a password—without actually saying any of the words in the phrase itself. Once your team guesses the phrase correctly, you hand the device off to the next team—going back and forth—until the time runs out. First team—out of two—to seven points wins the game.
Similarly, iShout Pro allows users to pick what kind of clues they want to play with, assorted by categories including "Things," "Tomorrow," "Entertainment," "Our Stuff," "People," "Sayings," or even all of the above. The coolest feature, however, of iShout Pro—one that Catchphrase didn't have—is that you have the ability to create your own phrases and passwords to use in the game using the "Our Stuff" list. This not only allows you to personalise the game using inside jokes, familiar names and fond memories, but also lets you update your password selections and add more phrases to the already pre-loaded ones.
Although there seems to be more categories for passwords, one thing that really bothered me about iShout Pro is the variety of actual passwords that are given to you to play with. In 10 minutes, I got "Johnny Depp" and "Han Solo" twice, and "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" three times, among other recurring passwords. In the "Entertainment" category, there also seemed to be a lot of Disney, Sci Fi movies and Sport references, dominating the category more than any other topics in entertainment. Moreover, the passwords were overall too easy—with phrases from "Carrot" to "Cinderella" and "Steve Jobs" to "As Blind As a Bat." Also, although this current version of iShout Pro seems to be up to date with passwords such as "Barack Obama" and "The Hills," I could only hope that the application would be periodically updated with more phrases and passwords, both in quantity and in variety.
Another addition to Catchphrase, one awesome thing about iShout Pro is the ability to choose how many teams you want to play with—2 to 4 instead of the mandatory 2—and also how many points you want to play up to. Although the game has an extremely easy-to-use and intuitive interface, be aware that once your settings are in place, you cannot go to the previous screen, pause the game, or change your game options without needing to manually quit the game and go back to your iPhone home screen.
One last thing: Be aware of the gadget on which you are playing. With the original Catchphrase, the loud beeping as the ticking counted down the clock pressured you into throwing the gadget at your opponents' faces as if it were an actually hot potato about to explode. Luckily, the ticking in iShout Pro—which comes in three different sounds: Buzz, Heart and Bomb—never gets intense enough for you to actually feel the need to throw your iPhone. Another great thing about this game is that you can actually control the volume of the beeping, whereas the uncontrollably loud and obnoxious original Catchphrase's ticker made you want to chuck it out of a window.
The Verdict: For $US0.99—a temporary price drop from its $1.99 tag—iShout Pro is definitely a game you want to have with you on your phone in case you're in the mood for some good, casual and clean, yet extremely competitive, fun. There are definitely a couple of hiccups compared to its original game, but that's nothing a little update can't fix. Plus, the game is seriously just a buck. I can't emphasise enough how much fun you could potentially have with this game by just forking over a single dollar. [iShout Pro]