iOS Universal •
Word games are usually not my go-to, but every now and then one will get under my skin and become an obsession. The last was Tim Fowers’ board game port, Paperback, but Zach Gage’s latest, TypeShift is the newest word game keeping me up at night.
The premise behind TypeShift is simple. You’re given a jumble of letters in columns that can slide up and down. By sliding the letters, you make words. It sounds ridiculously simple and, therefore, not worth your time, but it’s the way this mechanism is used that will keep you plugging away.
The game has two types of puzzles: word and clue. The word puzzles are kind of like playing Boggle. You’re given a big blob of letters and by sliding each column, try to make as many words as possible. When you use a letter, it turns green and you’re trying to both find as many words as possible and also finding the “core” words which will cause all the letters to become green, ending the puzzle. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of these puzzles. They’re not terrible, but they pale in comparison to the real star of the app, clue puzzles.
Clue puzzles are basically crossword puzzles without the grid. You’re given a set of clues, and also a bunch of letters that you can manipulate vertically. Some puzzles are easy, some are harder than hell, but they’re all a blast to play. I’ve finished some in under two minutes, while some have taken me closer to 30. Each puzzle is basically “one more turn” that you’ll want to try and finish before putting the game down, only to open up the next puzzle which will need to be solved immediately as well. This will go on until you involuntarily fall unconscious or run out of puzzles.
If there’s a downside, it’s the fact that you can, indeed, run out of puzzles. The app itself is free to download and you’re given some free puzzle packs along with a daily puzzle that refreshes once per earth rotation. You can also purchase new packs of puzzles for $1-2. That said, the F2P model works well in this instance, giving you actual content every time you drop cash. You can also spend money to earn “hints”, but if you do I will find you, come to your house, and make fun of you for basically ruining the game. Don’t try me.
If you’re looking for a great puzzle game that will fill those fleeting moments when you’re waiting in line or at the doctor’s office, TypeShift is a perfect fit. Each puzzle can be played fairly quickly or you can try to just knock out a clue or two here and there. Here’s hoping they keep offering more and more clue puzzles in the future…I’m nearly out and I’m not sure what will happen if I can’t get my fix.