The App: You Rather
The Device: iPhone 4
The Price: Free (or you can splurge on the 99 cent version)
The Basics: You know the game. You played it in elementary school. You played a dirtier version in college once alcohol entered your life. Heck, you may very well still play it now, a way of lubricating conversation with new acquaintances or annoying your girlfriend. It’s the good ‘ol fashioned game of “Would You Rather?” It’s a simple enough concept, a game that exists solely to get a reaction out of your friends and loved ones. Would you prefer one thing happen to you or another? Maybe it’s a good thing (“Would you rather fly or be able to turn invisible?”), but more often, it’s something far worse (“Would you rather freeze to death or burn to death?”). The You Rather app takes this game and puts it on your mobile device.
The Review: Here’s the thing about You Rather: it take a simplistic concept and executes it with style and aplomb…but is that enough?
Yeah, pretty much. There’s no denying how addicting You Rather is. It’s the kind of app that you open to kill a few minutes and suddenly an hour has gone by. If you’ll allow to appropriate another product’s apt tagline: “Once you pop, the fun won’t stop!”
I’m very sorry.
Seriously, using and navigating You Rather is such a breeze that it’s easy to get lost in it. There’s absolutely no fat on this app. Once you open it up, you’re immediately presented with a question and two responses. Some questions will offer additional details to help you better make up your mind. For example, the question “Would you rather spend the night lost in a forest or in a haunted house?” also offered “You will be pursued by a masked murderer in both locations.” Once you’ve selected your answer, you’ll get to see what percentage of users picked which answer, which is the really fun part of this app. Really? 67% of people would prefer to smell like farts for the rest of their lives instead of getting sprayed by a skunk at regular intervals?
Although You Rather could easily be played with you and your friends hovering around an iPhone, the app recreates the social experience through a comments section, letting you and others debate the question and try to get to the bottom of why someone would pick each. In my experience so far, the comments have been generally smart and fun, certainly a few thousand steps above YouTube.
Although the app is a barebones experience, it has its fair share of modes and options. The tool bar below each question lets you leave and read comments, mark a question as a favorite or share the question with the social network of your choice. In the options menu at the top of the screen, you can access your favorited questions, adjust your settings (including specifying your sex for more specific questions turning off the “adult filter” for some really gruesome, explicit questions) and login to your official account.
But there’s the rub: you can only create an account online through the You Rather website, which isn’t a HUGE deal, but it’s kind of annoying. Similarly, you can only submit questions through the site itself, which means you’ll have to open your browser if you cme up with a genius question. The fact that none of this can be done in-app is kind of inexcusable. While I’m piling on the negative, the free version may not cost you anything, but the ads themselves are so obtrusive that you’d wish you’d just spent the buck. The banner ads at the top of each page are fine, but the massive ad that comes up and blocks the screen every few questions is a nightmare. Even worse, exiting out of this ad is painful and results in you actually opening it at least half of the time. Remember those monstrous pop-up ads that used to overtake your computer before every website that was worth reading wised up and got smart with their ad placement? It’s that bad.
But come on: 99 cents is a bargain for an app that will give you hours upon hours of enjoyment, especially since people will always be adding new questions. Buy this app and keep it ready for a long road trip. You’ll thank me later.
The Final Grade: B+