For some reason, my friends’ Facebook posts recently seem to be awash with pictures of classic jigsaw puzzles. What was old has become new again, and all that.
I’ve always liked a good jigsaw, and when I manage to clear some space on my dining table beyond two square inches, maybe I’ll buy one.
In the meantime, there’s always the App Store as a backup plan. The puzzles may not be as tactile as the real thing, but they work as an alternative when you have no free physical surface in the house.
So, off I went a-huntin’ for one. What should I find, but that rarest of birds: the word jigsaw puzzle. Could it be possible that my two favorite puzzles – words and jigsaws – had been combined to create the ultimate entertainment? Why, I had not been this excited since that chocolate ended up in my peanut butter!
Despite promising myself that I would be better with my finances in 2016, I went hog wild and spent $1.99 to buy the full version, which removed the ads and immediately unlocked the more difficult levels.
Was I being irresponsible, casually waving goodbye to that kind of money without even trying the free version first? Nahhh … and besides, one of my other New Year’s resolutions was to take more risks.
How it works
This is very easy app to grasp, yet that does not mean it’s easy to solve the puzzles. If you start off with the free version, you only have access to the first three levels – Tiny, Small and Medium. The Big, Bigger and Giant levels remain locked until you fork over some moolah.
It’s actually not a bad idea to try the smaller ones first. Why pay when you can play first and see if you like it?
You choose what size puzzle you’d like to try and you’ll get a grid board with grouped letters in differently shaped pieces strewn around. The timer at the top of the screen begins, while you figure out how the pieces fit correctly in the game space.
They must form legitimate words in rows, but do not have to in columns. At least that was something.
The Tiny level features a 5-by-4 grid board that must be filled; the Small level is a 6-by-5 grid; the Medium, a 7-by-6, and so on. Following that to its conclusion, you’ll gather correctly that the giant puzzle requires you to assemble words that are all 10 letters long.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s probably for the best that you start small.
At the bottom of the main menu screen, you’ll see four different tabs: Store, More, Help and Stats. Let’s get to the latter three first.
“More” just takes you to another screen suggesting another game.
“Help” gives you a brief paragraph of the rules and an address through which you can provide feedback. You can also rate the app here.
“Stats” lists your average and record times for every level.
Finally, there’s the “Store” tab which, as it implies, has items that will cost you money. If you downloaded the free version of this app at the beginning, it’s here that you can upgrade to the one without the ads and with the unlocked higher levels. You can also buy hints, which may prove to be very valuable in the future. Funny thing is, it says “load up on extra hints,” yet you’re not given any by default. The hint count you’re allowed only shows up on the puzzle page when you’ve actually bought some.
When I played it
I consider myself to be very good at both jigsaw and word puzzles, so I thought this would be pretty easy; and in a way, it was … when I tried the Tiny level. I was solving some puzzles in less than 10 seconds and became remarkably full of myself in about the same time frame.
Then I got on to the Small level.
It is amazing how just that extra letter on each word, creating more puzzle pieces, significantly slowed my process. I discovered that “siinys” is not a word, nor is “dlaste,” “tamine” or “jevers.”
If this was how I performed at the Small level, what the heck would the Giant level be like? I’d probably be at it through the night!
This app is deceptively simple and a really nice challenge.
When I come across this type of app, for some reason I always think about being stuck in an airport or on a plane for a long period of time. Is it a game that would keep me occupied and entertained under those circumstances?
I have to say that the Word Jigsaw app would certainly be one of my first choices, before I returned to my arch nemesis – Candy Crush Soda Saga.
Rather than mindlessly trying to match sugary treats and possibly spending money to extend my lives, I could be using my wee brain to make words. Now if only it could stop me from eating candy as well. THAT’S the app I need to find.