Use Your Words is a game in the same vein as popular game Cards Against Humanity. Use Your Words distinguishes itself from that game (and other similar games) by two rounds of three different game modes, followed by a lightning round. Players join the game by using any web connected device with a browser.
Modes include adding a subtitle to a movie, coming up with a newspaper headline based on a photo, and filling in the blank in a sentence. Each round ends in players voting for which answer they like the most. Whereas other games would get you to use pre-made responses, Use Your Words has you type in your own answer. If you are stuck you can opt to submit a pre-generated "House Answer". If another player votes for a house answer not only do you gain points, but they lose points. This gives providing house answers a strategic element. Unfortunately the house answers seem to have been written with American in mind. Obviously this isn't a problem for American players, but players from other countries will find some answers easy to spot. For instance it is safe to assume that a British player probably wouldn't use the phrase "Julienne".
Each of the modes has something different to offer, and the way the game switches between them helps to keep things fresh. Any improvements that could be made are less about the modes themselves, and more about the time spent between playing. At the end of each round each answer is shown again so players can see how the vote went. This makes the game feel repetitive. Occasionally it feels like there is a little too much down time, and while the scores being shown on ticket stubs looks cool, they don't stand out a great deal.
Out of all the ways of playing the game, the one that feels the weakest is the lightning round. Being functionally the same as the fill in the blank round, it doesn't do enough to really differentiate itself. In theory players have a more limited time to come up with answers than in other rounds. In practice however, the clock is generous enough that there is little incentive for players to actually hurry during the lightning round.
Throughout the game proceedings take on the aesthetic of an old family game show. This is another way in which Use Your Words stands out from its competition. It really adds to the atmosphere of the game and comes across as charming.
Despite the criticisms mentioned in this review, Use Your Words is the perfect party game. It is easy to set, it can be played by anyone with a smartphone, and hits just the right tone for a fun evening. Use Your Words may need some tweaks to streamline it but, even as is, it is a lot of fun. Use Your Words is an upbeat game, with a new spin on the word game formula. It may stumble, but it more than sticks the landing.
USE YOUR WORDS / DEVELOPER: SMILING BUDDHA GAMES / PUBLISHER: FUNDED VIA KICKSTARTER / PLATFORMS: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE, WII U / RELEASE DATE: Q1 2017