Developer: Michal Parpura
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
iTabo is a great idea, well executed. The app markets itself as a word game, but it can more accurately be called a “party game,” one of those quasi-board games you’re meant to play with a group, with or without a few alcoholic beverages to help the hilarity along. These games are more or less designed to corner the player into saying funny things. The drawback is that you typically have to buy a box filled with word cards and little plastic hour glasses, objects that will only survive a few parties. iTabo takes all the essentials and packs them into an app, timers, words, rule book and all.
iTabo is basically a repackaging of the widely-known party game, “Taboo.” The rules are simple. Players are divided into two teams. In every round, each team is given two minutes to earn points by correctly guessing the word displayed on the screen, based solely off hints given by the player chosen to hold the iPhone. The catch is that none of the hints can contain words from the box of “taboo” words. For example, if the word to guess is “curry,” the player will not be allowed to say “spicy,” “Indian,” or maybe even “food.” It’s easy to play, but hard to play well.
The game would be just as playable if iTabo had a spartan sense of design, but the developer has taken the time to give iTabo a sleek and attractive user interface, complete with an eye-catching icon. There are some great little details in the look and feel of this app, such as the 3D question marks and words in the background, or the way the remaining time is visually represented on the timer. The sound design is better than it has to be, too.
iTabo also has a good set of features. Players are welcome to change the number of points needed to win, the number of minutes in a round, and other elements of play. While it’s by no means essential, it would be nice if future versions had an extendable library of words. Perhaps words and their corresponding taboo words could be auto-generated from an online thesaurus. This would help iTabo beat those paper-and-cardboard party games another way: the limited number of cards always cuts into the re-play value.
iTabo has a generous helping of words, though, so players shouldn’t worry about this app not being worth the price. Honestly, the worst thing one can say about this game is that its slogan, “Every word is worth its weight in gold,” doesn’t make sense. Words have no weight, so... they’re worthless? Overlooking this, iTabo is a great game. iTabo is recommended for party game and word game enthusiasts, though prospective buyers should be aware that it only works if you can gather four or more players.