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App Update Review: Hanging With Friends

2012-02-22 by . 68 comments

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Completed Mission Indication Zynga’s hit Hangman and Scrabble fusion ‘Hanging With Friends’ updated with a new feature! From their version 4.14 update notes:

Hanging With Friends now has Missions! Level your way through over 100 missions that test your Hanging skills, and rescue the Princess! On the way earn coins and unlock exclusive content.

No longer do you simply play an asynchronous game of Hangman, but now you can coerce your play habits into accomplishing missions at the same time! The princess won’t save herself, you know. All of this on the heels of the introduction of micro-transactions into Hanging With Friends, allowing you to buy virtual coins with real money in order to buy (drum roll please) character and balloon customizations, or hints for use during the word building and solving phases. We all know how much Zynga among numerous other companies like their virtual goods and currencies, and just how many horror stories come as a result of a young child playing this simple game and deciding that they need more coins to accomplish their objective; and what luck, all it takes is mommy and daddy’s password to do it!

The implementation of this has some particularly annoying quirks, the first of which is that you can only access your mission list via the star icon in the upper-left hand corner of the game board. There are mission objectives that take place outside of the game, specifically ones for buying something from the store, or changing your choice of character or balloons.

Mission list, with one mission completed Second, you can’t just keep playing rounds of Hangman and accomplish missions. If you “unlock” one, you must enter the mission list and explicitly accept it. If you accomplish the three missions listed, you will not get new ones until you enter the list and manually mark them as ‘Done’. Only then will your new ones be revealed. The obvious alternative would be what Jetpack Joyride does, which displays your mission progress after every round, and very explicitly shows you when you’ve completed one.

As previously mentioned, it’s an annoying aspect that you cannot disable; and if you pay attention to it you’re inclined to actively work towards accomplishing the missions. Accomplishing missions can be anything from spending virtual coins, to using in-game hints, to playing specific words, such as 4 character ones, 5 character ones, ones including the letter ‘t’, or ending with ‘ing’.

Of course, there is an incentive for you to complete missions. Each mission is worth a number of stars, and you rank up after 5 stars. Generally speaking, the missions increase in “difficulty”, or length, as you progress in star value. Where a mission named “Slipping Away” worth 1 star requires you to cause your opponent to lose 5 balloons, the 2 star level requires you to cause the loss of 10 balloons. When you rank up, you get an increasing number of coins. I haven’t paid enough attention to determine the rate of increase in rewarded coins per level.

Mission skip confirmation screen And there wouldn’t be incentive without giving you the ability to dramatically rank up quickly by paying actual money. All uncompleted missions have a ‘skip’ icon, which when tapped offers you the ability to immediately complete the mission by using 20 of your virtual coins; but of course, the confirmation screen has two buttons. One to confirm your skip, labeled: “use it!”, and another labeled “get coins”, which takes you to Hanging’s coin shop screen where you can choose the amount of virtual coins you want to buy, but don’t get the actual cost until after you’ve selected one.

For the record, 70 coins can be bought for 99¢, or 20,000 coins for $99.99, which is discounted 65%! (According to their in-game image.) Best(?) of all, the two icons next to the 20,000 coin options say “stay tuned!”. Any bets on how many coins they will give you, and how much it’ll cost?

The icing on this nasty cake is the number of crashes that have begun to happen. They happen nearly every time I play, after tapping the ‘menu’ button in the upper-left of a game screen. The saving grace for this is the existence of the ‘Next’ link that will take me to my next unplayed game that requires me to take some action on. Without delving into too many more griefs, there are other ramifications of this nuisance, the chief one being uncleared notifications and icon badge state.

Hanging With Friends is still Hangman, that aspect of it hasn’t changed. If you can wade through all of the added on nonsense they subject you to, it’s still the same game. The new missions are an extra 2 seconds of nuisance at best, and a time sink at worst. In case you’re curious, I’m currently Level 15, a ‘Bronze Stumper’.

Hanging with Friends is iPhone/iPod sized only, it has no iPad specific interface. It is free (with ads in between games), or $1.99 for the unsubsidized version.

Filed under App Reviews iOS

68 Comments

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  • Mark J says:

    Got the princess by level 30 but there are no more missions. Seems like it’s been half thought through…

    • Jason Salaz says:

      I’m sure that will only be the case until the next feature update. I can’t believe they Zynga would just let that end.

      Either that or they’ll give you a way to “reset your progress” so you can do the same thing all over again!

      Either way this new “feature” is god awful and really needs to go away. There is a finite number of things you can do with a Scrabble achievement system. Especially when it specifically rewards you. At least with general achievement systems such as those as part of Game Center (and OpenFeint, and Plus+, and Crystal, and…) or other console gaming systems like the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, the achievements are noted, but not in your face.

    • carleoso says:

      Me, too. Didn’t even get to finish Level 30 (5/30stars) – redinition of the word “anticlimactic “

  • Zander says:

    I’m stuck on the swap balloons mission how do I do it I’ve already lost and won many games and it’s still there what do I do to get past it?

    • Jason Salaz says:

      Change your choice of balloons in the store. Click the yellow ‘Shop’ icon on the screen listing all your games, and buy a new set of balloons. If you already have, you are able to simply change to a different set you previous bought, which is free to do. You should immediately see the mission accomplishment screen.

  • Maria says:

    When I complete a game nothing happens as far as the missions. Am I doing something wrong or is it a bug?

    • Jason Salaz says:

      I haven’t seen any missions yet that only involve completing a single game except for one, “complete a game with a random player”, or something to that extent.

      You need to review your list of missions (tap on the star) to determine what you have to do to complete a mission.

  • Amanda says:

    I can’t figure out how to get the missions at all. I have an android, is it just an iPhone thing or what?

    • Jason Salaz says:

      If I recall correctly, my Android-owning friends did say that they don’t have this feature. So yes, it is only an iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod) thing for now. I can only imagine Zynga will update the Android version eventually.

  • Catherine says:

    I was awarded balloons for completing mission 20 or 21 but I’m still hanging with the same generic balloons. Why won’t they update? Pretty silly that I even care. Hoping it’s a scare tactic with my opponent…hee….hee

    • Jason Salaz says:

      When you’re awarded balloons, you must manually choose them from the Shop. From the main menu (the list of games), tap the yellow Store button, then the balloon tab at the top. You should see the rewarded balloons there and will be able to choose them for use.

  • Maria says:

    Level 19 the mission is called The Closer… You have to finish 5 games. When I actually finish a game I do not receive a star??? Am I doing something wrong?

    • Jason Salaz says:

      You’ll receive credit after finishing all 5 games. Not 1 star per game. The mission list will show you your progress. In the case of 5 item missions you’ll see a progress indicator like ’3/5′ meaning you’ve completed 3 out of the required 5.

  • Lauren says:

    When I go to Missions, I have three that I’ve completed, but it won’t let me push them to get the stars, it’s just frozen. I also can’t click the X out, if I go back to menu and then go back to a game, it’s still there frozen. When I go to chat then play it exits out.

    How do I unfreeze it and/or collect my stars?

    • Jason Salaz says:

      Unfortunately I don’t have a definitive answer to that. I want to suggest simply deleting the app from your device and re-installing it, I DO NOT know what Mission or other progress you will lose by doing so.

  • Dani says:

    How do you unlock stuff from the store?

    • Jason Salaz says:

      You “pay” for it using the virtual coins you get. Occasionally these missions will give you items for free, but much more often they simply give you some amount of coins.

      Additionally, you get 20 coins every time you fill the point meter at the top of a game screen, you get points similar based off the tile point system, like Scrabble/Words With Friends which this game is based off of.

  • Amy says:

    You can view the mission on the front screen as well (so you don’t have to click on the star) You can just click on your profile and it will take you to your profile and you can select view missions.

  • Jason says:

    What Do you get when you Pass Level 30? I am on 24 right now.. When Do I get more Balloons? or a lot of coins? Whats the hardest mission?

    • Disappointed says:

      You get the crown balloons at some low level, I forgot when. On level 21 you get the unicorn balloons. On level 27 you get the balloons with a castle and rainbows. When you reach level 30, you “rescue” the princess and get to use her as an avatar (not that great prize if you’re a guy). The missions then abruptly end at level 30.

  • Patricia says:

    What does it mean when it says “those balloons are so 5 min ago, swap them out” do I have to play an entire game and win in 5min???

    • Jason Salaz says:

      It simply means that you should choose another set of balloons from the Store. Click the yellow ‘Shop’ icon on the screen listing all your games, and buy a new set of balloons. If you already have, you are able to simply change to a different set you previous bought, which is free to do. You should immediately see notification that you completed the mission.

  • Wendy H says:

    Does finishing a game mean winning? Because I have lost a game on the closer achievement and it still says 0/5 for progress.

  • Joni M says:

    Mission Level 20 has Friend Finder….Finish three games using random match. Finished the first game, but it does not give me credit in the progress field. Any ideas why its not???

    • Dude says:

      All finish the game missions are actually WIN the game mission as you do not get credit for losses

  • Draegon1972 says:

    There are only 30 levels thus far and you get a princess when you get it. Would have been nice to unlock maybe a prince as well or something a little more manly lol. No more missions :-(

  • ggquilter says:

    If they win, they finished the game. Yes you have to win to get crediting for finishing a game.

  • jerry says:

    I’m on level 30 – I have a mission but it does not tell me what it is….I guess that’sthe challenge or is it a bug?? Anyone care to help me out here?

  • Sharon says:

    Same happened to me! Very disappointed…. A score of 5/20. You would think they would have let you get at least the 20/20 points. Bummer

    • jerry says:

      yeah that’s it, I got 5/20 also….I was thinking they were being evil and giving you a mission but you dont know what it it…..keep expecting it to pop up and say I’ve completed the mission….

  • Melodie says:

    How do I complete the Friend Finder mission. I only have to complete one match using Random and I’m pretty sure I have one at least 1 game in random since then. Help Please! Thank You! :)

  • max says:

    How do I complete Friend Finder Mission? What does it mean “Seek our your next foe! Finish a game using random match.”?

  • bob says:

    a dude with cool shades on and a hip outfit would be a cool choice in the store for high levels achieved, and winning some coins for every 5 wins or something…..

  • Arlarm says:

    For me, Level 30 has stopped at 2/20. No matter what I try, nothing changes. How can I start a new game? Is there a way to force SSSLLLOOOWWW players out of the game. These slow pokes hang around for more than 10 days and take up space. I have learned not to rematch the slow pokes but, in the meantime, how do you get rid of them? Why are there no directions for completing Level 30? I hope someone has an answer. Mostly, how does one start over again with a new game? Thanks for any help provided.

  • Monroe says:

    When I first started missions went to shop and found great bargains, reduced clearance balloons, and avitars. I did not buy at the discounted prices but the prices have gone up. Will they ever be reduced again or is that a one time deal . Like I don’t have oyster things to think about. How dumb is this question?

  • Munchie says:

    I have had some random opponents who will not send me a word. Is there some way I can delete them and play against someone else ? I tried prompting them through chat mode but have not received any response.

    Many thanks

    • Steph says:

      There’s no way of deleting these games unfortunately. I’ve had the same problem. The only way those games will go away is after 7 days… I believe it’s about a week and a half or so before the game will automatically resign them.

  • Steph says:

    There’s a new balloon set out with the theme ‘Pacman’ or some sort. It has a pixel-heart as the first balloon and behind it are what looks like Pacman characters. There’s no way of getting this in the shop, and it isn’t a prize when you complete all the missions. A secret prize? I wanna get these balloons but how.

  • Josie says:

    Hi steph I got those balloons that you are speaking of but I have no idea how I did. They just appeared in the store for free. ???

  • Cricket says:

    Anyone else know the criteria for getting those pixel balloons? They also just appeared for me and I don’t know why. I have completed all thirty levels.

    • Mark says:

      They were a gift from Zynga for starting a game on a designated day, I believe it was the anniversary of an atari game. There was an ad that mentioned it in between a “Words with Friends” round. Saw the ad, booted up game, started match, prize awarded.

  • Carol says:

    Please add missions beyond level 30 or let us restart the old ones.

  • Richard says:

    I completed level 30 also and no more missions to complete. I have no reason to play the game anymore and I don’t want to use the Princess avatar b/c I’m a man. I want to restart the old ones at least.

  • Julie says:

    I am up to level 30 and it had missions and when I finished those it was blank. Its no fun anymore

  • Emily says:

    I can’t figure out how to achieve the “what’s the haps” mission. Look at the news on the drop down menu? What’s that ?

    • Chriso18 says:

      On the front screen when you go into the game at the top is a semi circle thing, just tap it and it scrolls down to reveal news.

  • Sara says:

    Recently, there were “new” rainbow balloons for sale in the store for 150 coins. Where did they go?

  • Nerak says:

    Lost my coins :( I had 390 now have 20 what happened ??

  • BeckyH62 says:

    Where are my coins!!!

  • Josie says:

    Does anyone know how to get the blue horned little character!? He’s super cute!

  • Noemi14 says:

    one of my competitions has a cute cupid girl as her character..where can i get that character..do i have to complete the missions??

  • Heymonica1 says:

    Reached level 30 excited and then nothing! Very surprised and disappointed at the abrupt end to all I have played towards. Real let down.

  • Steelhorse66 says:

    If you have SLOW players, and want to resign, in the list under “Their Turn”, press your finger on the game and while pressing, slide your finger to the left or to the right. You will be prompted to resign the game with this player.

  • Hoddyetta says:

    is there a way to Pick players from,other countries. I live in the USA and would like to “meet” people from other countries. I only have One out of country, Why do I keep Getting USA players…..And she gets players mostly from here country. HELP !

  • Betsy says:

    This was really helpful, thanks! I’ve reached level 30 and still wasn’t sure how some of the balloons, like the “crown” ones had become unlocked but now I see. It would be good to see more levels above 30, and yes, we need an avatar for the men! I’m using my princess and the “castle” balloons.

    to Hoddyetta, I don’t see how you can tell what country someone lives in.

  • Linda R says:

    I got a notification for activity in Hangman and went to look. Didn’t see it was my turn. Scrolled down and see that a game ended, but neither of us won. Instead of the usual grey square with the beginning letter on it, it had a red square with one of those circles with a line through it that usually indicates “not allowed” Why did that happen? What does it mean?

  • Mike R says:

    There is a Dragon avatar in the games files on Android, though it’s not listed for purchase in the game shop. I wonder when they are going to release this avatar?

  • Shezza2831 says:

    Does anyone know hoe to delete the “bet” option? Also, if i uninstall then reinstall with the same email will l loose my missions and avatar ect? Thankyou.

  • jgreco says:

    My earned coins stopped accumulating at 4790. Kind off an odd number to stop at.

  • Skwerl says:

    What level do you get the dog wiearing a hard hat avatar? I played somebody who had it last week but haven’t seen it since. and what about those 8-bit balloons? when can I get those?

  • Chuck Waggins says:

    Got to level 40 before it stopped. Called me a Word Wizard. Now it busts says more missions to come.

  • Aalia lyon says:

    Its a nice to play Zynga game and so interesting so much go through this link and play and download more games.

  • Vickie says:

    one mission says Enjoy hanging? Check out some of our other games, Tap on the dog. WTH is the dog?

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