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.

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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,

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