Crosswords are the bane of my existence. I find them obtuse and boring. But iOS game Typeshift is a smart variation of the formula that makes them much more tolerable.
Typeshiftdeveloper of, Zach Gage of Turn of fate and Really bad failures glory, says this game is part of his “pseudo-quest to re-imagine classic newspaper games in the digital age.” In order to solve the puzzles of Typeshift, you scroll through the columns of letters until the middle row makes a word. Standard puzzles just need you to make all the letters blue by including them once in a word, but the deepest and arguably the most interesting puzzles are “clue puzzles”. In these, you have a range of clues, like crosswords, and create words to match those clues.
Either way, what makes them more fun than a crossword in a newspaper is the ability to move the letters around. It’s a satisfying movement, punctuated by a “click!” Moving the letters helps me visualize what words might exist in that space. If you see that E and D are in the last two rows, you might be able to extract a word from the previous letter even if you don’t really know the answer to the clue.
This is how crossword puzzles work, really. You might not know all the clues, but sometimes you can fill in all the vertical clues that intersect with a word horizontally. But there is something in the tactile nature of Typeshift this makes this process easier to analyze. Instead of scribbling in the margins, I can flip through all the letters top to bottom until I know the answer.
Typeshift is free on the App Store, but between the puzzles you will see advertisements. Fortunately, purchasing any of the game’s additional puzzle or clue packs completely removes the ads. While the game comes with plenty of free jigsaw puzzles (including the incredibly difficult “Lexicographers Only” pack), eventually you’ll want to explore new ones: just like you can’t replay old crosswords, once you’ve got the hang of it. beat a pack of puzzles in Typeshift there is no reason to return.