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Nintendo Presents Crossword Collection (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Nintendo Presents Crossword Collection on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Genius Sonority was enlisted to bring UK DS owners a whole host of classic novels to read just after Christmas 2008, with 100 Classic Book Collection, but what did Nintendo have up its sleeve for the close of 2009? Well, to the untrained eye it may seem like a brand new title called Nintendo Presents: Crossword Collection. However, a closer look will indeed reveal it is merely the localised version of CrossworDS from developer Nuevo Retro Games, which launched in the US back in May 2008. Of course, though, it would be extremely unfair to criticise a game right from the off simply because of it taking so long to released here.

US-based development team Nuevo Retro Games currently only lists CrossworDS in the games section of its website, despite being described as a licensed DS and Wii outfit that states a desire to work on original creations, as well as porting projects and designing games around people's IP and licenses. The team's first effort for Nintendo has worked out well for it, though, with the final product being a solid puzzle effort to attract the casual gaming base that are still buying the DS system in their droves. Being a collection of crosswords (with a few extras thrown in for value purposes), clearly not much is expected on the audio and visual front, since all that is really required is a clear, user-friendly interface and simple input method. As expected from a Nintendo release, the hand-writing recognition is almost faultless (writing a 'K' can be awkward, but it clearly depends how adept you are with a stylus and your personal writing style) and the entire set-up has an extra lick of polish.

There are three game options to choose from: Crossword, Wordsearch, and Anagram. The main port of call here is obviously the name of the game itself, the Crossword Collection. Players can choose from three difficulty settings, with a fourth one locked away as incentive to keep making progress, and there is a certain amount of Hint Points available on each crossword in case you get stumped on some questions. There is also the ability to turn on a mode where writing the wrong letter in a box highlights said character it in red and plays an audio cue to indicate a mistake has been made. Whilst it does not give you the right answer, at least it saves some hassle later down the line. Purists will obviously prefer to switch this feature off, no doubt. As for navigation around the various grids, hitting the 'Zoom' button does what it says on the tin, making it simpler to write in a box, whilst pressing it again zooms back out (an alternative is to double-tap on the grid to zoom in). Hand-writing a word into the designated box, one character at a time, seems even easier than in Brain Training, but there is always the chance to delete any erroneous entries by using the eraser icon should it be required. It is also easy to switch from Across and Down clues by using the D-pad or self-named on-screen buttons. With over 1,000 crosswords included, with everything done against the clock, completists and high score chasers will be in their element.

Screenshot for Nintendo Presents Crossword Collection on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Should players grow weary of constantly attempting to complete the crossword conundrums on offer, there are three types of Wordsearches to tackle, coming in Small and Large form, with a hidden mode that unlocks after sufficient progress has been made on the first two modes. There are different categories of words to find, starting with Animals and British Geography on the small ones, whilst Cities and Countries are on the large, but with plenty more opening up to encourage repeated play. Sadly the touch-screen is not superbly accurate in this instance, and it can be quite awkward trying to highlight specific letters to start off a word when using the stylus on the touch-screen, leading to errors that would otherwise not be encountered if using a wordsearch book and a pen or pencil. Perhaps the opportunity to cancel an initial selection would have been a useful means of overcoming such a point of frustration, but sadly it was not included. The better of the two extras definitely has to be the Anagrams mode, where players can choose to unscramble Short, Medium, or Long words. The aim is to take the bunch of random letters on-screen and create a set number of words from them, with each correctly organised word being uncovered and ticked off on the tally chart on the left-hand screen (the DS is held on its side like a book in every mode, just in Brain Training). There are hundreds of anagrams overall, which will certainly prove to be hours of fun for those that enjoy the likes of Scrabble.

For its GBP19.99 price-tag this is certainly not a bad package at all. However, there are other puzzle collections that, whilst maybe not quite as user-friendly or aesthetically pleasing, do have more crammed into them. Perhaps if Nintendo had pushed the boat out a bit more in terms of content, even adding online features or local multiplayer it would have made this a must-buy title. Crossword Collection could definitely have benefitted from a multiplayer element, seeing who can complete puzzles quickest, or even having a local wireless co-operative solving option where players work together to crack crosswords or find words. Alternatively online features such as extra puzzles being made available for download could have been introduced. Considering this is pretty much the same game that US gamers received in May 2008 and Australians got in June 2008, the fact that this has become a UK-exclusive release at the very end of 2009 is quite surprising, especially as there have been no extras added to warrant the massive delay. At least 100 Classic Book Collection, the English version of what many thought would be a Japanese-only release, had extra books to download and had not been available in English for a year and a half before hitting these shores! However, Nintendo Presents Crossword Collection is still a solid effort that does not lose marks for arriving so late. Instead it does so for missing several opportunities to make this an essential purchase.

Screenshot for Nintendo Presents Crossword Collection on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


The hand-writing recognition seems even more reliable than in Brain Training, whilst there are no problems in the Anagrams mode. However, choosing words in Wordsearch does prove to be cumbersome at times.


Rudimentary visuals, but a very clear interface that proves extremely user-friendly.


Instantly forgettable tunes that thankfully do not prove too distracting whilst trying to concentrate.


With so many crosswords available, as well as two extra puzzle types, this certainly is a pleasing package. However, it also appears an opportunity has been missed to make this essential for puzzle fans.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

Nintendo Presents Crossword Collection is a fine product that will appeal to puzzle fans all over, throwing enough crosswords, wordsearches and anagrams at players to keep even the brainiest of DS owner occupied for quite some time. Sadly there are a few elements missing that prevent this from becoming a must-buy title.

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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Are all the crosswords the 'quick' type, or are there cryptic ones in there as well?
I don't want to sound like too much of a nerd (too late, I guess), but I only like cryptic crosswords.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

They're not cryptic, actually, no. Just straightforward crossword puzzles with a different range of difficulty levels.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Tried the demo on DS off of the Wii. I will pick it up eventually as I like crosswords. I agree, it is not mega flashy but does the job well.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Ah, I didn't realise there was a demo on Wii now. I wonder if that's what helped it shoot up the charts this week? I reckon it could well jump into the UK DS Top 10 next week.

I wonder how many other UK C3 readers have considered, or already picked this up.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I tried the demo, and it's OK. I like the way it works, but I won't be getting it as I don't like this sort of crossword.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

It's a shame it doesn't have exactly what you were looking for. However, hopefully it does suffice for the people that have already picked it up. I'm very interested to see how it fares in Monday's UK chart update, that's for sure Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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