There’s already an eclectic array of games covering all sorts of genres on the Nintendo DS. All tastes are catered for. But sometimes simple is best. And Nintendo Presents: Crossword Collection represents a return to basics – albeit one with a few twists, turns and flourishes.
Crosswords are one of the most commonplace means of entertainment in our day-to-day lives, adorning newspapers and magazines and distracting many a commuter during the daily rush hour. In addition to the casual gamers at home, Nintendo will be targeting this audience by highlighting the merits of virtual crosswords over printed ones.
“Playing crosswords on the DS offers lots of benefits over more traditional forms,” says senior product manager James Honeywell. “No longer are you limited to just completing one puzzle at a time on longer journeys, as you have over 1,000 puzzles available.
“You don’t have to worry about making corrections to mistakes, because you can quickly and easily update anything you have entered. For me, this is a key feature as many times I have ruined my crossword in the paper with a rushed answer.”
At the heart of the game are over 1,000 puzzles covering all possible levels of difficulty.
There is plenty to get stuck into here for puzzlers of all ages and abilities. Should they ever want a different challenge, there are also two separate modes with plenty of anagrams and word searches.
The crosswords are completed by holding the DS vertically, like an open book. The clues appear on one screen, the crossword itself on the other.
Players fill in the puzzle by writing straight onto the screen using their stylus, and the handwriting recognition software makes sure the correct letter appears on screen.
“Beyond the huge number of puzzles that offers more than any other single title, we have tried to ensure that it has the most user-friendly experience available,” explains Honeywell.
“We have taken our experience from titles like Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? and100 Classic Book Collection to offer class-leading handwriting recognition technology in this title, which will represent the most intuitive gameplay available.”
When the going gets too tough, players can fall back on various hints and tips to get them going again.
Importantly, the title has been tailored specifically to suit the UK market, using words from British English rather than the American English vernacular – so there’s no excuse for poor spelling.
Adding to the game’s accessibility, there are three skill levels. As well as Easy and Medium, there is a much more challenging setting, which starts players with space for a four-letter word beginning with H and ending in D.
Released this week, Nintendo presents: Crossword Collection arrives just in time for Christmas – and without being caught up in the flood of last month’s blockbuster. Honeywell is confident that the game will be in plenty of stockings on the big day, before going on to perform well in 2010.
“Christmas gifting just represents the first opportunity for this title, but there is no reason why sales would be limited to this period,” he says.
“Crosswords can be enjoyed at any time, so we hope that this title will exhibit a long tail of sales in the future.”