Pure Crosswords is a puzzle game for the Nintendo Switch that boasts the subtitle “The best crossword puzzle word game ever”. It’s an ambitious statement, and I’d be lying if I said I’ve actually played a crossword puzzle word game on the Switch, ever. It turns out that this is a great title to start with.
From the outset, Pure Crosswords does things right. It features a simple, clean interface that loads quickly. The menu is super easy to navigate, with three clear choices, Easy, Normal or Difficult.
After jumping into your first puzzle, it’s obvious that the touchscreen controls are well implemented. You can tap on any square to bring up a keyboard at the bottom of the screen. It’s a lot like a mobile device, and this familiarity makes it easy to pick up and play. Tapping the same square changes the direction of the word, allowing you to choose your lines before typing a whole word at once, without repeated tapping. It feels like the perfect digital version of a paper-based crossword.
There are a whopping 750 crosswords within each category, giving you 2250 in total. That’s plenty of content to keep you going, probably forever. This isn’t likely to be a game you’ll play for hours on end, but it’s absolutely perfect for quiet times on the couch or on a commute. You can even rotate your screen to create a vertical interface if you prefer.
Options like this help the game stand out. Recreating a crossword is one thing, but adding in options like screen rotation, dark mode, and different fonts and styles helps personalize the experience. Pure Crosswords feels inviting, like it wants you to enjoy your time solving these bad boys.
Other little niceties include an auto-save feature, so if you exit a puzzle you can return from where you left off. There’s also a percentage on display to indicate your progress. And if you get stuck, help is readily available! You can check for errors, solve letters or words, or skip an entire puzzle if you just want to move on. It’s so user friendly; there’s nothing left to do but enjoy finding the right words to fit the clues.
The other terrific inclusion is an area dedicated to statistics. Pure Crosswords keeps a detailed record of your progress, including time spent on puzzles and how many help features were used. You’ll even level up as you successfully solve more and more. It’s another simple feature that adds even more to the longevity of this game.
There’s not much to say in the way of criticisms. My only issue was struggling to know the answer to some of the questions, which is no fault of the game. If anything, Pure Crosswords is designed to help increase your vocabulary. Speaking of which, according to its Nintendo listing, the game is apparently aimed at Commonwealth countries, like the UK and Australia. Having said that, the answer for the clue “mother” was “mom”, so I feel like US-based players won’t struggle. Either way, when you figure out those words on your own, it’s very satisfying.
Overall, Pure Crosswords is a great example of a simple game done well. The clean interface and personalization, along with stats and help features, make this both easy and fun to play. The sheer number of puzzles is worth the price alone. If you’re a crossword enthusiast, you won’t be disappointed.