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The Times Crossword Challenges DS Review

29/04/2009 Family Domestic Gamer Review
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The Times Crossword Challenges DS

The Times Crossword Challenges

Format:
DS

Genre:
Improvement

Buy/Support:
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This game is a must for anyone often found rustling away under the broadsheets on a Sunday afternoon. It's the take anywhere crossword challenge - which is intelligent along with the usual challenges a crossword, brings.

I've never really been very good at crosswords, certainly never managed to finish a cryptic one. I think I nearly managed a simple one the Sunday papers once! The fact that I don't buy newspapers doesn't help with my lack of enthusiasm and I'm not one of those puzzle book types. So when I saw this game I thought this might be the answer to kindling a new passion for these little black and white square word puzzles!

The game certainly brings a new take on cross-wording, with hints built in for those who really can't abide being stuck on a word for two long. Be warned though, any hints used incur a time penalty - a small price to pay if you ask me! The game records your top 5 scores in a hall of fame. I thought this part of the game could be expanded a bit more to keep track of your progress for longer, especially if you play a lot.

Having first sat down to complete my first crossword I have to confess I haven't been able to put this down, which is a bit of a rarity with me and the DS.

I opted for the easier concise crossword and then found I had a staggering 450 games to choose from. The controls are a bit fiddly; my mum borrowed this game for a while - being one of the growing number of OAP's with a DS console to their name. Sadly she found the whole game set up too confusing and didn't use it very much, which is a shame because she loves crosswords. She said she would like someone like her brain trainer man to say ‘you're doing great - keep going!' Although she is easily confused by technology, the look and feel of the game could be improved with clearer simpler icons. It kind of has the feel of a PC game which has been adapted for the DS.

It's easy to forget what all the icons on the top right mean and there are too many ways of looking at and completing clues. Including writing in letter manually or using a keyboard, then you have to choose pencil or pen depending on how sure of your answer you are. I can see that this brings an element of paper-based authenticity to the game, but does over complicate it for the technically-inept!

I am so hooked I am even thinking it will be a nice way to pass the time when we escape from the kids for the weekend next month - I wonder if I can play in the bath?

Having first sat down to complete my first crossword I have to confess I haven't been able to put this down, which is a bit of a rarity with me and the DS. I was even found struggling over the name of a Spanish composer in bed long after lights out! I have even been seen to forgo TV for a few more minutes to wrack my brains over a tricky clue. I have used the hints tool quite a bit, when I know that I will never get a clue without going and looking it up on the internet (which would be far too taxing). I haven't been brave enough to tackle the cryptic crosswords yet, but it is nice to know there is a new challenge to look forward to. Although my husband is getting tired of me asking random questions like ‘Bottomless Pit - 5 letters?'

I am so hooked I am even thinking it will be a nice way to pass the time when we escape from the kids for the weekend next month - I wonder if I can play in the bath?

On the whole I think this game is brilliant, it must be to convert a crossword-a-phobe like me!

Written by Josie Campbell

You can support Josie by buying The Times Crossword Challenges



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Josie Campbell writes the Domestic Gamer column.

"As quite a domesticated mum of three I love the thought that Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS lite and PSP games can have a practical role around the home and enriching everyday life but also fun to chill out and unwind with too. Here are my Domestic Gamer review, join me to read about all sorts of games, from cooking, health, and family ones too."

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