Crickler provides a new take on crosswords

Crickler is a new iOS word puzzle game from PlayScreen. It’s available now as a free-to-play download from the App Store, supported through in-app purchases.

A “Crickler” puzzle is similar to a crossword, but instead of taking place on a grid, players simply answer clues one at a time. Certain letters in an individual clue link to letters in up to four other clues, allowing players to gradually figure out all the answers a little piece at a time. A hint function allows players to find out an individual letter once per minute, and a “handicap” function dynamically adjusts the difficulty according to how well (or poorly) the player has performed in past puzzles.

Crickler offers puzzles in a wide variety of different categories ranging from general trivia to news and entertainment. Some answers — particularly in the sports and news categories — are a little U.S.-centric for international audiences, but for the most part the puzzles are accessible and completable by all, and the hint function allows players to get a leg-up on particularly elusive solutions.

Crickler is monetized through its “puzzle credits” system. Upon downloading the game for the first time, players are awarded enough credits for 30 puzzles. Once these have been used players must then either acquire additional credits through in-app purchase or make use of a Tapjoy offer wall. This provides fairly generous rewards for either downloading and trying other free-to-play games from a variety of publishers or signing up for a selection of online services.

Crickler is not an especially “social” game at its core, but following successful completion of a puzzle, players are able to brag about their achievements on Facebook and Twitter as well as via email or text. If the player chooses to do so, they are rewarded with additional puzzle credits in exchange for their viral promotion of the game. Game Center functionality is also incorporated — there are daily, weekly and all-time leaderboards for the number of puzzles successfully solved, and five achievements to chase, though these are all of the “complete [x] number of puzzles” variety that simply reward persistence rather than skill.

Crickler is a good quality game that is simple but well-implemented. It is likely to appeal to a wide demographic due to its simple rules and variety of included subject matter, and the app itself isn’t filled with unnecessary glitz and flashiness — or ads, for that matter. It makes good use of the connectivity of the mobile platform and provides something entertaining and compelling to maintain users’ attention for a few minutes at a time. It’s not trying to be anything more than it is — a selection of fun, clever word puzzles — and is all the better for it.

Crickler is available now as a free download from the App Store. Check back shortly to follow its ranking with AppData, our traffic tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.