Crosswords DS packs a punch, combining 1000+ puzzles with a budget-friendly price to make it a worthy purchase.
The game employs a very clean presentation, one that is similarly seen in other first-party DS games. The menus are very slick, with rounded options and a bubbly, happy look. The DS is held like a book, so you're looking at two tall screens side by side rather than on top of each other. In-game, the left (non-touch) screen gives you the hints, as well as a zoomed-in view of what you're looking at, in case you're solving a large puzzle. The right (touch) screen is where the action happens. The stylus is used to select the panel you want to draw a letter in. To bring the panel up, tap it with the stylus and you can write your letter in. If it is correct, the letter will stay. If not, it turns red and you can erase it and try again. There are also your options on the right screen, including whether to focus on going down columns or across rows, as well as additional hints (which hit you with a time penalty), if you should choose to use them.
The handwriting recognition is, for the most part, impressive. Even a bit of a mess-up can sometimes be recognized if it resembles the letter you're trying to draw. The only things that take getting used to are drawing N's in one touch and keeping the top and bottom lines on I's (as in iguana), otherwise the N's are taken as H's and the I's are L's. Otherwise, it's solid.
As I mentioned before, Crosswords DS gives you over 1000 puzzles to complete. Of course, these crosswords aren't all the same. Keeping in line with the Touch! Generations line, there are varying degrees of difficulty to the puzzles, including Easy, Medium, and two higher difficulties. Two are available from the get-go, but the hardest two need to be unlocked by playing through Easy and Medium. The sheer number of crosswords under each difficulty is incredible. If you dabble in crosswords from time to time but don't want to get serious about it, there are over 200 puzzles in Easy mode alone. Another 300+ reside under the Medium label.
Although the title may lead you to believe that only crosswords exist here, there's more than it suggests. Included in the puzzlefest are anagrams and word searches, both staples of the word puzzle genre. This not only adds more bulk to the title but it lets you take a break from crosswords while keeping the game in your DS.
Nintendo has kept the conveyor belt of quality moving right along, providing yet another addicting puzzler with enough crosswords to keep you busy for months. With a budget price of $20, it'd be a crime not to check this one out.