Scruzzleword from Y Media Labs combines elements of a crossword puzzle with Scrabble. It serves as quick or prolonged entertainment as well as a vocabulary builder for a reasonable price.
The game begins with a crossword-style layout, only full of letters in the wrong places. Only 4 letters are in their proper place – denoted by a gold color. Clicking on gold letters reveals word clues for the across and down of that letter. Other letters are dragged and swapped to form the correct words. Once a letter is correct, it turns gold and provides clues to further words. Once all words are found, the level is complete and your time is recorded. If that gets too easy, there is a Challenge Mode. In this mode, clues are only available to non-adjacent squares, which increases the difficulty significantly and forces you to make more strategic choices in letter placement.
While playing, the top of the screen displays current and best times for the level and a small menu button in the top right corner. A brief shake of your iPhone also displays the menu, and serves as protection in case you drop your phone since nothing else is motion-sensitive.
Aside from a bell ring to signify correct letter placement, he game has no sounds or music (and even the bell ring will be turned off before long). Control is simple and responds accurately to touch. The color palette consists primarily of light gold and white. It is not too bright or loud and makes it easy to stare intently at for lengths of time.
The help option, available in the main menu, gives details on the how to play the game. It also offers some strategies for the Challenge Mode and even a brief video tutorial. You are also able to view your best times and play specific puzzles. The 50 included puzzles will keep you occupied for a while. Challenge Mode may be too difficult for some, but it gives the game potential replay value and makes it a game of memory as well as vocabulary. For the price of two dollars, you get a decent amount of casual game play. If you enjoy crossword puzzles, you’ll enjoy Scruzzleword.
Scruzzlewords is now available for $2 for the iPhone.