In a world dominated by twin-stick shooters and traditional puzzle games it is sometimes hard to promote a common word search game. Like the few before it KrissX (pronounced criss-cross) has had a hard time even making a sound on the world. Hell even the director of all things Xbox Major Nelson didn’t know what the game was about the week it was scheduled to hit the service. KrissX is a simple idea that will occupy you for quite a while with its brain teasing puzzles however; the steep price tag and lack of diversity make this one to try before you buy.
The premise behind KrissX is simple. Each level involves some jumbled words and you have to swap letters in order to solve the puzzle. That really is all there is to it. There are around 150 different puzzles and even random jumblings, but for the most part this is the same concept over and over again. The game does a nice job of adding in various factors such as timers and bonuses for completing puzzles quickly and accurately, but in the end it is all the same principle. In the beginning it is actually quite fun to try and decipher each one. Brain teasers are always good concepts for games, but when you start to get about 20-30 puzzles in, you start to feel the tedium setting in.
As I mentioned there are bonuses for completing objectives quickly but none of them are ever really explained and as far as I can tell they only serve to multiply your score tally. This might be enticing if the leaderboards were lit up with a fury of players, but after one match I was in the top 1000 players without much effort. Not to say the game is void of any enjoyment; quite the contrary, but it is hard to recommend shelling out ten bucks for something that holds the entertainment value more around the value meal price tag.
As far as gameplay is concerned there really isn’t much to talk about. You maneuver around the words with the analog stick, pick the first letter you want to swap with the A button, move your cursor over the letter you wish to swap it with and press A again. What I did like is that the game will throw hints at you when you hover over the word to help move you along. There are also bonus items that fall across the screen when you solve a word; you can snag these by tapping one of the other face buttons. Nothing too fancy, but it does break up the pacing a touch.
On a presentation level the game doesn’t really do anything wrong, but its simplicity is also its worst enemy. The bland visuals are not going to knock you out, but a lot can be said for clarity in a game that involves word puzzles. Nothing ever gets in the way of the action and things are presented in a neat fashion making the game a breeze to navigate. I do love the soothing voiceover that narrates the menus and the music is non-intrusive and appropriate, but again it does nothing special.
KrissX is a game that is certainly enjoyable when you play it, but it will be hard to draw you that far. If you enjoy word puzzles there are certainly cheaper alternatives, and without a solid online community or any multi-player to speak of, it falls flat. If the price was a bit smaller I would highly recommend checking it out as it does do everything it’s supposed to fairly well. As it stands this is one I would recommend giving a trial run first; if it grabs your attention by all means pick it up. There is quite a bit of content to justify the purchase regardless of its bland exterior.
Review copy provided by publisher.