A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a fun way to introduce children to word puzzles. The focus is on crosswords, but there are also anagrams and word searches. For crosswords, the game has lots of built-in helps including a tutorial, hints, and a way of indicating whether the letter you write is correct. However, if you are good at crosswords, you'll have to play through some easy ones before you unlock the harder ones. And this is hardcore word puzzles, with no light-hearted arcade games to break up the intensity.
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What's it about?
CROSSWORDS DS provides over 1000 crossword puzzles on four levels of difficulty. It also has three levels of anagrams (puzzles where you make words out of a given set of letters) and word searches (puzzles where you hunt for words in a grid of letters).
The game works well for either right- or left-handed players because you rotate the Nintendo DS on its side to accommodate writing on the touch-screen. For crosswords, the clues are always featured on the side where you are not writing. Simply tapping on the square where you want to write, zooms you in. And once there, when you write a letter, the letter recognition software works well. You can even activate a feature that lets you know if the letter you wrote is correct. If the letter is correct, it will appear in black; if you're wrong, it turns red. Plus, there is no need to erase – if you change you mind, you can simply write on top of your previous letter.
Is it any good?
This is a nifty compilation of puzzles that families can take on trips. It can keep track of up to four profiles, and players can save unfinished puzzles. However, if you are really good at crossword puzzles, this game won't start hard enough for you and will make you work through some easy puzzles before you can unlock the more challenging ones.
What makes this game good for kids and adults who are new to crosswords, is that it offers a tutorial explaining how to play. Plus, the crossword puzzles come with a hint system so that you will never get stuck. You can use three different types of hints: an additional clue, show a letter in a specific box, or have the whole word filled in. While you can't play with others, it's perfect for players who enjoy playing with words.
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