Review – Nintendo Presents: Crossword Collection [DS]

Posted: February 27, 2012 in DS, Reviews

Another game in the Nintendo range of “laid back” gaming, this involves some of the most well-known puzzles around: The Crossword, the Wordsearch, and the Anagram.

All three are all available to you in abundance. A tutorial is on offer for you, but it travels at such a slow pace you might as well jump in and discover it as you go along, you’ll learn it quicker. Played on its side – The simplest of the three is the Wordsearch, you are given a list of words to find, which are normally themed per board, such as random animals. You draw a line from one end of the word to the other to reveal it. That is all that can be said. With the anagram, you begin with a set of five letters, and using a drag and drop move with the stylus you make words with as little or as many letters as you can. The trick is to find all the combinations. As the difficulty increases, so do the amount of letters and word lengths to discover. With the crosswords, for which the game is named upon, it becomes the most technical (which isn’t saying much). You tap a line where you want to try and guess the answer to a clue, and draw letters, it you’re right the letter turns black, if not it turns red.

There are a large number of crosswords available, but from the ones in the beginner and medium levels, some words crop up more than others, the words “exist” and “lungs” for example. The difficulty is obvious as you jump from the modes, with words getting longer and the clues becoming more cryptic. For those situations, help is at hand. For each crossword you are given a certain number of “Hint Points” which can be exchanged for an alternative clue, a free letter, or even the whole word being revealed. These however come with a time penalty, which can affect your score ranking when complete. To start with, easy, medium and difficult modes are available; an extra mode is unlockable as you progress.

This is one portion which will probably divide some players, which is the handwriting recognition. For me it was alright, but one gripe I had was that sometimes it has trouble detecting the difference between L’s and I’s. Naturally this experience will vary from player to player.

Sound is practically non-existent in this game, a soft tune is played during the menu screens, but sadly you will only get a few jingles when you draw the right/wrong letter or tap out an answer. This is a shame as the option for some background melodies would’ve been welcome, such as the nice ambience music that was on offer with the 100 Classic Book Collection. It is clear that this game wasn’t especially designed with the hardcore gamer in mind, as such I enlisted the help of my step-father, a non-gamer, but a human being who enjoys crosswords, to try out the Crossword Collection for himself. After leaving him to his own devices for a few hours, he reported to me afterwards that although it took him a little while to get used to the handwriting recognition, he found the interface simple and easy to use. He also added that he didn’t bother with the tutorial either.

As the screenshots show, the graphics are not eye-catching, but that isn’t what the game was made for, this is a game which has been designed to be played in short bursts or even stretch out over a long journey. There are no genres mixed here, it is a simple puzzle game. If you like puzzles, and a lot of them at that, this is the game for you. With over 200 crosswords on the easy mode alone, this is a title which will not be easy to finish anytime soon.

Graphics 2/5
Sound 2/5
Gameplay 3/5
Playability 4/5
Lifespan 5/5

Pr0s
A] A huge amount of puzzles to play.
B] Simple to use interface.
C] Long lifespan.

Cons
A] Not much variety in the puzzles on offer.
B] No background music.
C] Letter recognition might be more troublesome for some players.

TOTAL

6/10

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