Telegraph Crosswords Review
Posted by James Newton
Last year Nintendo took a stab at the handheld crosswords market with Nintendo Presents Crossword Collection, and it did a decent job, with plenty of variation and a decent interface drawing in gamers who like to dabble in the occasional crossword. If Crossword Collection was the tutorial, Telegraph Crosswords is the final boss; every puzzle here is tough and satisfying, and at 500 grids you're looking at a stack of gameplay.
Although there are no specifically named themes, you'll notice certain grids have thematically-similar clues; the second one makes a few references to Norfolk, for example, meaning there's a little glue to keep the often disparate answers together. Coming from the Telegraph you know you're not going to get any simplistic clues; even the first puzzle features some more cryptic clues than you might expect, but they just make it all the more satisfying to conquer a grid. Crossword experts will be right at home while others might take a few puzzles to warm up.
The interface is pretty decent, with letters entered using either an onscreen keyboard or handwriting recognition, both of which work well. You can choose for incorrect entries to be highlighted and, if you get really stuck, call for a letter to be filled in, both of which come with time penalties as each grid is played against the clock. There's a "best times" section but it's admittedly unlikely you'll want to return to previous puzzles to retry them for quicker times. You can suspend one puzzle and come back to it later, and thankfully starting a new puzzle doesn't overwrite your previous save file, plus there's auto-save along the way as well.
On the audio side there's not much to go off but it does feature some music that demands to be turned off immediately, along with a handful of rudimentary sound effects. The visual presentation is clear, although as there's no zoom feature you may struggle to read the text if your eyesight isn't perfect.
You're getting a big set of tough crosswords in this package – almost eighteen months' worth of Telegraph crosswords are crammed into a DSiWare download, and all for less than the price of a week's papers. If you're after an easy introduction to the world of crosswords this isn't it, but as a value package of head-scratchers it's well worth a buy for aficionados.