21 Jul

Do you like crossword puzzles? Do you find it irritating that all the letters aren’t already filled in for you? Scruzzleword, by Ymedialabs, offers a new twist on the classic crossword formula by doing just that.

Scruzzleword offers fifty filled in crossword puzzles with two difficulty settings, Beginner and Challenge mode. None of the hints are brainbusters–Ymedialabs claims all the puzzles are ‘medium’, and it’s a buyable claim– so most reasonably knowledgeable individuals should be able to solve the puzzles. At the outset of each game players are given a symmetric crossword board that is filled in with all the appropriate letters, except that all but four are in the wrong place. The four letters that are in the right place can be tapped, when players touch these letters the Across and Down hints associated with that space are revealed. Once a letter is in the right place it becomes gold, like the four original hints. From that point on, it’s all a matter of using the new hints to fit all of the board into place.

It’s difficult to imagine how a difficulty setting could exist when the puzzles are identical for both Beginner and Challenge mode, but there is absolutely a difference between the two modes. In Beginner mode, any gold letter can have it’s hints viewed. However, in Challenge mode any gold letter that touches another gold letter cannot have it’s hints revealed. Beginner mode is actually logically beatable, and feels much more like a puzzle game whereas certain mishaps can make Challenge mode unplayable and more random guesswork than anything. Occasionally when you swap letters they find their correct position, and while this is no problem in Beginner mode, it can really wreck a game in Challenge mode since you won’t be able to view hints on something you’ve never seen before. Too many of these errant hits, or simply trying to solve the puzzle in Challenge mode turns your game from a puzzle to a challenge to randomly guessing where the letters go. Yes, it’s challenging, but it feels like the game wasn’t thought through very well. Fortunately, Scruzzleword in Beginner mode is a pretty fun game, and solving all fifty puzzles should take a while. Additionally you can view your best times for each and every puzzle and replay them to try and best the score. Online leaderboards would have been a nice touch, just to see how your time stacks up, but the personal best list will definitely bring you back to any given puzzle.

At $2, Scruzzleword is recommended for crossword enthusiasts and puzzle fans. Stay away from Challenge mode though, the experience will be that much more fun for it.