A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
What's it about?
In CROSSWORDS WITH FRIENDS, players solve crossword puzzles in the same way they'd do so in a book, magazine or newspaper, by translating hints into answers. But if you get stuck, the game lets you 'buy' partial or complete answers to difficult questions. The most useful assist, though, is one that will let you know if you're entering the wrong letter, saving you trouble deeper into the game. The faster you finish the puzzles, the more stars you earn. While the name of the game implies a multiplayer component, that's only in a tournament among all players to see who can complete the most puzzles (based on their total number of stars).
Is it any good?
While not everything transitions well to the digital world, we're happy to report crossword puzzles do with this fun app. Crosswords With Friends may not be the social game its name implies, but it's a wonderful puzzle-a-day app that will keep casual, moderate, and hardcore crossword fans happy. The puzzles are supplied via a partnership with People Magazine. They're not especially challenging, but they're a fun way to focus your mind elsewhere and provide a good distraction. The hunt system Zynga provides is a good backstop for people who can't figure out an answer, supplying either letters or the whole word -- or letting you know when you're entering the wrong answer.
While it would be nice to have different difficulty levels to choose from -- and a more robust "With Friends" aspect to the game (a tournament to see who has won the most isn't that engaging), this is a well-done game that lets you scratch the daily itch to solve these popular puzzles and offers a tremendous backlog of additional challenges (each at a small cost) for people who want to binge.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about different ways to approach problems. Since solving horizontal puzzles can be handled by solving vertical ones, can you apply that shift in perspective to solving other problems in other games? What about in real life?
Talk about restraint. It's easy to spend money on older puzzles, but wouldn't you rather wait for a new one tomorrow? Do you feel a need to pay for additional puzzles?