Crosswords DS is the next game released as part of the Touch Generations series. For $19.99, you get a package that contains three distinct game modes: Crosswords, Anagrams, and Word Search. While the meat of the game is the Crosswords mode, the other two provide a little bit of variety in case one gets bored solving crosswords.
Upon booting up the game, four empty profile slots are revealed, allowing for four players to each have their own profiles. This is convenient for tracking which puzzles each person has completed. Once a profile is made, the player begins by selecting their game of choice. Crosswords has four difficulties, but two of them are locked from the start. There are hundreds of puzzles to choose from. The game is played open-book style, and depending on which is your dominant hand, you'll be playing either on the left or right screen.
When starting a puzzle, you point to a square on the puzzle, and you'll receive two clues on the left hand side of the screen, one across clue and one down clue. Hit the square again to be able to begin writing in a letter. Pending what box you check on the bottom right corner of the screen, either across or down, the game will automatically shift right or down so you don't have to move around yourself. However, you can use the directional pad to move around alternatively. An inexperienced player can turn on a helpful assist guide that lets the player know when an incorrect letter has been entered.
Thankfully, the letter recognition software used in Crosswords DS is fantastic and recognizes most characters correctly. The only issue is that once a letter has been inputted, there is a slight pause for the game to recognize it and scroll to the next empty box.
You can ask for hints if you get stuck, but these affect your final time and grade. While most of the puzzles aren't that difficult, some clues are silly such as "I am ti___ (sleepy)". Whatever works I suppose.
Word searches are split up in three difficulties: small, large, and a difficulty that needs to be unlocked. You have the words located on one side of the screen and the actual word search on the other. Simply draw lines on the hidden words to have them highlighted and marked off. The larger puzzles are a little more challenging as you have to move the camera around to see the entire puzzle, so you don't have the whole puzzle in front of you like you do with the small puzzles. There's five pages of puzzles for each difficulty of twenty puzzles per page.
Completing the trio of games is Anagrams. These puzzles are divided up into three types: short, medium, and long. You're given a group of letters, and it's your goal to try to arrange the letters into as many 3-letter, 4-letter, 5-letter (etc) words as possible. This mode has a seemingly endless number of puzzles, and for each one you solve, the game will keep track of how many anagram puzzles you've completed in the various lengths. The frustrating aspect of this mode are discovering words that most people don't know are words and inputting words that the game does not consider valid.
Another cool feature of this game is that you can save your progress at any time, and then you can dive right into the puzzle where you left off. Only three progress saves can be recorded at one time-- a crossword save, a word search save, and an anagram save. This feature might seem a given, but some titles of the same brevity lack such a feature. It's perfect for the pick-up-and-play aspect that the Touch Generations line of games is known for.
The game is fairly bare bones and sterile in overall presentation, sound, and graphics. But a game such as this is meant for it's simple look and feel. It really works well for its pick up and play aspect.
Crosswords DS is a game for those who need something to do while they wait for the bus, train, or to just kill a few minutes when boredom occurs. It's fun to play, and it's great to just pass a few minutes with or even a few hours. For $19.99, you get over 1,000 different puzzles that will last you quite a long time. Greatly recommend for those who love these types of word puzzles.