Crossword Pie wants to make crosswords more fun, more relevant, more like a game of Candy Crush. It adds some twists, some boosts, some special moves, but in the end you’re still just putting letters into gridded spaces. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the game just isn’t the leap forward it thinks it is.
The puzzles here are geared towards general knowledge – capital cities, collective nouns, filling in the gaps in famous phrases, that sort of thing. The game automatically moves you on to the next question when you get one right, but you can tap to select different conundrums as well.
Each crossword is its own little level. Complete it and you’ll unlock the next one. That means if you get stuck, you’re going to have to fathom out the puzzle you’re stuck on before you can have another go.
The power-ups you unlock offer a variety of different help. Some will reveal complete words, others explode and place a bunch of letters. Some you drop while you’re playing, others you pick before you start – ones that reveal the first or last letter of all the words, for example.
They mainly help out when you’re stuck, giving you some extra information, or filling in the word that’s giving you grief. You get limited amounts of them, and you’ll need to buy more with in-game currency if you run out.
The whole things poses the question – who is this game for? The basic mechanics of a crossword game are in place here, and while the power-ups change things a little, it’s not enough to alter the fact that you’re still doing crosswords. And the level-based system means crossword fans are more likely to go and play something a little more traditional.
Crossword Pie is an interesting attempt at doing something different, but in the end it feels like it hedges its bets. There isn’t enough novelty to give the game a wider appeal, and too much to make it appeal to traditionalists. It’s still entertaining, don’t get us wrong, it just misses the mark of taking cruciverbalism to different places.