Review by watchlaar

Reviewed: 05/13/08

A pale substitute for NYT Crosswords

Well, considering the high praise this title seems to be receiving, coupled with my positive experience with the New York Times Crosswords title for NDS, I gave it a shot.

I'll get right into the numbers.

Presentation: 3/10 -- Like a naked Saltine. Dry and without any distinguishing flavor at ALL.

Storyline: n/a

Graphics: 6/10 - Functional and clean.

Sound/Music: 5/10 - Again, it gets the job done. Nothing more.

Gameplay: 5/10 - Here's where the review hinges, and here's where the game fails. Crossword puzzles are supposed to be interesting and challenging. While the interface on CrossworDS is elegant and user-friendly, and the handwriting recognition is good, answering questions like "____ and mouse", over and over again, is mind-numbingly dull.

Overall: 5/10 - There are two kinds of styles for crossword puzzles; those that incorporate names, places, and culture into the questions (like the NYT Crosswords), and the kind that focus on basic conversational language, with very little in the way of educational significance. CrossworDS falls under the second category. It’s just a vocabulary test, and it becomes incredibly boring after a very short while. I started with the "medium" difficulty, simply because the "hard" option must be unlocked. I found the "medium" setting to be so boring, that I think the act of tilting a piece of paper to examine the texture might provide a more compelling experience. I simply didn't have the patience to trudge through the whole "medium" section, in order to unlock the "hard" puzzles. It was intolerably dull.

After I could stand no more, I booted up the ol' NYT Crosswords, and my recollections were correct; NYT is superior in every single way. The clues focus on history, art and music, geography and other culture-rich subjects. The clues for NYTC also are phrased in clever (at times almost riddle-like) ways. When you succeed at beating one, you feel like you've accomplished something. With CrossworDS, I felt like I had accomplished nothing more than the shortening of my life, and the life of the battery.

The art style, the options, the interface and the handwriting recognition of the NYT Crosswords game are all much more appealing, as well. It looks better, it works better, and it provides an intelligent gaming experience. The puzzles may be tough, often impenetrable, but isn't that why we play?

I know this is not a review for NYT Crosswords, but the comparison is unavoidable. They're both available for the DS. If you're over 14 years old, get the NYT one. It's just that simple.

Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Product Release: CrossworDS (US, 05/05/08)

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