Typeshift Is A Word Puzzle That Rethinks Crosswords

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Crossword puzzles are the bane of my existence. I find them obtuse and boring. But iOS game Typeshift is a clever twist on the formula that makes them way more tolerable.


Typeshift’s developer, Zach Gage of Spelltower and Really Bad Chess fame, says that this game is part of his “pseudo-quest to re-imagine classic newspaper games in the digital era.” In order to solve the puzzles in Typeshift, you scroll through columns of letters until the center row makes a word. The standard puzzles just need you to turn all the letters blue by including them in a word once, but the deeper and arguably more interesting puzzles are the “clue puzzles.” In those, you’re given a range of clues, like a crossword, and make words to match those clues.

In both cases, what makes these feel more fun than a newspaper crossword is the ability to shift the letters around. It’s a satisfying movement, punctuated by a quiet but solid “click!” Moving the letters around helps me visualize what words could exist in that space. If you see that E and D are in the last two rows,