I just finished playing CodyCross, a cute crossword puzzle on iOS that I thought had some potential. Is it worth playing? Let’s find out!
I think I found CodyCross through an advert in another game and thought it looked good. It’s basically a crossword puzzle but doesn’t have the layout. Instead of that standard crossword shape, each puzzle in CodyCross has a word or term that uses one letter from each word. These words follow a theme across a bunch of levels. And to be honest, the clues and puzzles are pretty good – even though some of the clues (and their subsequent words) are repeated a lot.
What I found after just 20 or so levels is that it could use some kind of variation. The word length in each puzzle can very, from 5 letters right up to 10 or 11. But other than that, you’ll basically be looking at the same screen over and over. Which might be a good thing, because…
PUZZLING Design Decisions
There are some weird design decisions though. Just like Candy Crush and the Saga games, CodyCross has a map to work through – but why? There’s no ranking system when you finish a level, so there’s no reason to go back and replay levels you’ve already completed. So why add the map? It seems like a way to just bump play time, requiring players to make an extra couple of button presses just go keep going. I don’t get it.
Some of the animations are too long and slow, forcing you to sit through the same animation multiple times. Why would I want to unlock a bonus item and then not claim it? That’s another pointless button press that does nothing but bump play time and I hate when games do this.
There’s also the issue of limited lives. Each puzzle will use 2 of them (for whatever reason) and every 4 hours you can (usually) get a couple returned. So you go through them quickly and obviously the developer’s intention is that you’re going to buy more of them. But most people aren’t going to do that, meaning you basically just can’t play for (up to) 4 hours. I have another post I want to make about the reasons why that’s stupid, but that’s for another time.
And if you don’t log in, those lives just sit there waiting – you don’t get 4 lives if you’re offline for 8 hours. The two lives just sit there until you claim them, then that 4 hour timer starts again. At least Candy Crush (and its ilk) have that right – you’ll always start the day with a full suite of lives.
I want to like CodyCross, I really do. The puzzles are good and mechanically everything works well. I enjoy word puzzles, it’s just the monetisation that I find totally egregious. If your lives restored more quickly I might have continued, but I’m not willing to log into the same game every 4 hours just to claim a couple of lives which will last about 2 minutes. That’s incredibly offensive to players and I won’t accept it. So I’m out and I can’t recommend you play it.