Puzzlejuice

App review by
Liz Panarelli, Common Sense Media
Puzzlejuice App Poster Image
Tetris-like word app wins with clever concept, snarky humor.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to think quickly and effectively. Puzzlejuice gets kids' brains working as they strategize placement of rows and blocks, and it helps them improve vocabulary and spelling as kids create words from the letters in the blocks. The core mode is challenging in and of itself, but the app presents other challenges to keep kids thinking. Puzzlejuice offers kids a fun challenge that incorporates logic and language.

Ease of Play

The game has an excellent tutorial and adapts to the player's improvement and skill level by suggesting the player change modes, increasing the level, and providing new objectives in sets of three. There are different game modes and difficulty levels for a range of ability levels. Some strategic aspects of the game, such as how to best utilize special blocks, must be learned through trial and error. Similarly, it takes a while to learn how to select letters without accidentally moving a falling block. The game generally moves smoothly between menus with engaging music, graphics, and sound effects, though we noticed very occasional bugs (such as a tile freezing and becoming unresponsive). 

Violence

The tone of the app is snarkily aggressive -- the intro to the game says it will "punch your brain in the face," and the option to exit a game is called "rage quit." Solved words and special bomb tiles (that look like stars) make surrounding tiles disappear.

Sex

The game accepts (and provides definitions for) commonly accepted words, including ones related to sex and body parts.

Language

Curse words that have dictionary definitions, such as "ass," can be submitted.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Words related to drinking, drugs, and smoking can be submitted, and their definitions can be viewed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Puzzlejuice is a challenging combination of word finds and Tetris with a concept similar to DigitZ, all with a mildly aggressive, "bro"-ish tone. Players arrange falling colored block shapes to complete rows, and group blocks of the same colors. Completed rows and color groups can be converted into letters. Players then spell words among adjacent letters to make those tiles disappear and let the block above fall. In core mode, players continue until their blocks reach the top of the screen. In zen mode, the blocks fall only when players guide them down, but the game lasts only 90 seconds. After a round, players can tap on words to see their dictionary definitions, which enhances the app's educational value but also may expose younger kids to mature content. Players can share high scores via Twitter or the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.

User Reviews

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Is it any good?

Puzzlejuice is addictively fun! In addition to the neat game concept, the menus and graphics are smooth (particularly on the larger iPad screen), and the music and sound effects are great. The tone of the app is a tad bro-ish (when players type in their username for their first high score, the presented name is "broseph"), but not in an offensive way. The excellent tutorial, different game modes, and varying difficulty levels and objectives give this app a lot of replayability value for older kids and adults alike. This is a great app to play together (with one player finding words, the other directing falling blocks), or challenge each other on Game Center -- and be sure to look up definitions of new words after each round!

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Play a board game like Jenga or Boggle together to enjoy the strategy of building towers or finding words.

  • Play cooperatively, with one moving blocks and one searching for words.

App details

For kids who love working with words

Our editors recommend

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