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Genre: Puzzle & Trivia
Min OS X: 10.4    Graphics: 800x600 @ 16-bit

Word Cross
July 11, 2008 | Jack Shiels

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You may remember being told as a child “a mind is a terrible thing to waste," a mother’s retaliation to your endless hours of watching the magic black box in the corner of the room. These days we spend a lot more time than we think filling our minds - though not in a good way. Instead of having the ability to remember things of actual use, we prefer to spend our time memorizing better strategies in our favorite MMO (massive multiplayer online) game or all the maps in Marathon. Are we heading for a future filled with simpletons?

There had better be a remedy for this problem - oh wait, funnily enough there is! Word Cross is a game based on the common crossword, with a bit more thinking and a few gameplay twists in store for those who play.

To be honest, gameplay is really, really simple. Word Cross presents you with a board of tiles, much like a crossword, requiring you to place the words from the sidebar into the correct places on the board. Of course, it is possible to make a mistake, but for the most part it is incredibly easy. The real challenge is completing the board in time, rather than deciphering complex word games, but again, the time limit is often fairly high and easy to beat.

For those looking for an intellectual thrill ride, you will most likely be a bit disappointed. There is, however, a small row of text at the bottom. This row of text fills up to form a famous saying as you complete the level (for example, “the apple never falls far from the tree” etc.) Guessing the saying before finishing the board will win you the stage instantly. This, to my mind, was the most interesting part of the game – the rest was a bit mindless and monotonous.

This game will, however, most certainly increase your vocabulary. I found an array of phrases I had never even heard of, such as “Torero” and “Caloric”. This is great for the kids, providing they actually look up the words afterwards!

The game has been created with a funky psychedelic theme; much akin to the “aqua” buttons of Mac OS X and for a two-dimensional game is fairly good looking. The music, however, is incredibly bland and not really deserving of any merit – rather falling into the category of “continuous beat” than “lovely melody”.

Variety in this game is fairly average and not really something to brag about, but for $20 it isn’t that bad. My one problem would be the lack of any more modes than the two supplied, them being “timed” and “not timed” methods of play. Sure, there are bonuses and plenty of words to fit, but the gameplay is the same throughout and it contains no challenge mode besides a time limit.

Hmmm… only 500 words… how on earth am I going to fill the conclusion paragraph with 200 of them? I suppose the thing is it’s a very simple game. Sometimes short and sweet is good – or I could rattle off a few more incredibly long phrases from the game itself… naah – I guess the best thing to say is this - it’s a pretty standard affair that will probably appeal for it’s intellectual value here and there or maybe the learning experience for the kids, but it’s no epic. Overall it is a fairly basic little game.

But wait – is that not what it is meant to be?

• Mentally stimulating
• Not too complex

• Basic
• Are eight year olds really going to use “chironomid” in a sentence?

Word Cross
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