Words with Friends returns with a complete re-write for Windows Phone 8, goes for free

Back in 2009, Words with Friends was the big hit game from the startup company Zynga. The game finally arrived on Windows Phone 7 and 8 in 2012, plagued with bugs and performance issues. Indeed, it maintains an astonishingly low 1.8 stars (out of 5) on the Store from over 2,500 reviews. Needless to say, it's not a hit with Windows Phone users.

Words with Friends hadn't seen an update in quite some time, but fast forward today and it has a complete rewrite, losing its Windows Phone 7.x status and becoming a Window Phone 8 and 8.1 dedicated game.

Head to the Windows Phone Store we can see version 1.0 is now live, still with the $2.99 price tag and no free trial [Update: it is now free!]. The still popular crossword puzzle game brings with it the usual Facebook login information along with Smart Match, find by username, contact list support and pass & play. The all new Words with Friends also has leaderboards, sounds, vibration toggle notifications to alert you when it's your turn.

The performance and handling of a pure Windows Phone 8 game is much better than the previous version. Words with Friends is now fast, smooth and even much nicer looking, showing that Zynga can still write nice apps when they have the right tools. Indeed, making the game compatible with Windows Phone 7.x and 8 was its undoing, as Windows Phone 8 programming is much more powerful for developers. It shows as this game re-write has paid off, making it ultimately worthy for Windows Phone fans.

If you already have bought Words with Friends in the past, this is, of course, a free upgrade. If not, you'll need to drop $2.99 for the game, but you can take our word, it seems to be finally worth the money. There is no free trial, though a free, ad-supported version may come at some time in the future. [Update: as the Store has refreshed, the price has dropped form $2.99 to free]

Thanks Q, Mark B., and Ryan M., for the tips!

QR: words with friends

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.