There’s something immediately addictive about Crosswords With Friends — a certain something that most Zynga games manage to emit. It’s a fast acting drug, but one that doesn’t exactly linger afterwards. You’ll enjoy dipping into Crosswords With Friends and its wealth of puzzles, but quite a few factors will infuriate you too.
The key idea behind it is that every day, you’re presented with a new crossword to complete. These are entirely free to play but typically only take about 5 minutes to complete. There’s a loose theme to a few of the questions dictated by what day of the week it is. Mostly though, you’re dealing with general knowledge with a dash of pop culture references. It’s initially fun and Crosswords With Friends does a decent job of making it easy to switch between words. You simply use the virtual keyboard to enter the letters and the game moves you automatically to the next tile. That makes things speedier as well as far simpler than having to repeatedly move around manually.
You can use in-game coins to have it highlight when you’ve entered an incorrect letter, as well as enjoy a scattering of correct letters to start you off. Most of the time though, you won’t actually need much assistance. Each of Crosswords With Friends’ questions are pretty easy. This isn’t New York Times standard by any means. There’s also a certain amount of repetition. Expect ‘era’ and ‘age’ to be reused a fair few times, amongst others.
It’s quite relaxing though. By only being a few minutes long, it feels like you’re gaining a little victory. Play it at the beginning of the day, and you get to start the day with a win. Who can resist, right? Do expect plenty of adverts though. Crosswords With Friends likes to throw them at you quite frequently. That’s even more so when you go to play older crosswords from previous days. In each case, you have to spend in-game coins to unlock them. Run out of coins and you’ll be tempted to pay real money for more. Don’t expect to be able to buy an ad-free version either.
There are some other free games to play via a form of sponsorship by various popular names, but these can be relatively swiftly exhausted. It’s all a little too easy for those with a decent vocabulary under their belt.
Elsewhere, you can work on your position on the leaderboard. Either by challenging friends and seeing who’s fastest, or by consulting the overall leaderboard to see who has completed the most. Of course, if you’re a late comer to the game, you’re going to have to spend a lot of coins to play a sufficient number of games.
There are ways of earning coins such as by completing certain objectives or simply by enabling push notifications, but Crosswords With Friends is very much a game that’s keen to get some money out of you. I enjoyed my time with it and happily used up all the free coins I could retrieve, but you’ll soon realize that this isn’t challenging by any means. It’s a way of inflating your own ego – making you feel smug that you’ve succeeded at a crossword when this really isn’t hard. As an introduction to the concept of crosswords, it’s fine but expect to want to move on soon enough. You will get bored, even more so when certain answers keep being repeated.