Growing up, I played a lot of word games with my family. Scrabble, Boggle and plenty of other types of word games, I’ve always been a fan of them. I have generally played them, in recent times, on my phone as there aren’t all that many on PC. Crossword City Chronicles seems to promise to change this, offering a casual word game experience for players to play through while solving crimes.
Thinking on the positive side to begin with, Crossword City Chronicles is a pretty fun little word game, where you basically play a form of Scrabble to form words, which you can then use to find clues, interrogate suspects or hire people to work with you. For the most part, it’s pretty fun and quite addictive. The fact there are four or five different types of puzzle to play through gives a solid bit of variety and each are somewhat randomised as you’ll get different letters and words to play from, so it gives some solid replayability if you want a fun little word game to play.
There are, however, a lot of things that I found annoying with Crossword City Chronicles. From the tiny bugs to the more irritating gameplay choices, there’s a good chunk of this game that just irritates me. Firstly, despite being named Crossword City Chronicles, you never have to solve a crossword clue, which I was immediately disappointed with. Another more minor issue is the game doesn’t seem to retain your settings. I usually played it alongside YouTube or Twitch, as the music isn’t particularly inspiring, but I’d have to manually turn off music and sound effects when I started it up each time, which is a complete first world problem, but it is a touch irritating.
So those two are quite small problems, but the one that surprised me, and, if I’m totally honest, properly annoyed me, was the amount of grind required in Crossword City Chronicles. I thought that it’d be a fairly fun, easy-going playthrough, but getting 100% on everything in the game requires you to play certain stages seven or eight times, minimally. I know it’s a casual game that you’re supposed to want to return to every now and then to pick up and play, but it feels kind of cheap and artificial to lengthen the game in this way.
Probably the worst sin for a game released on Steam, Crossword City Chronicles is a mobile game at heart. It would work perfectly on a tablet or phone, and although it does technically work fine on PC, it’s not a game that I would actually want to play on PC. Even the window that opens is almost the exact size of my mobile phone. You can’t use your keyboard, it’s just drag and drop tiles onto the board, and everywhere it says to “Touch” rather than to “Click”.
I can’t really say I’d recommend Crossword City Chronicles, especially if you’re a genuine crossword fan. The word games are fun enough, and it’s easy enough to dip in and out of, but the grind of it is pretty awful, if you’re a completionist. If this was a mobile game, you’d bet I’d be giving it a high rating, but on PC I just didn’t really click with it.