So, the review has just started and I am already asking favors, but bear with me. Allow me to document the inner monologue that I experience when solving a typical Lexica puzzle:
“I hate this. With every single molecule, every single pulsing cell in my body, I hate this. I am just going to finish this puzzle for pride’s sake, shut down the game, and never look at it again. Wait! Wait! I’ve got it! Ha! I solved you, you putrescent, fetid, illegitimate spawn of a huntsman spider/flesh-eating bacteria hybrid. That wasn’t so bad. I wonder what the next one is like? Let’s see…”
d3t’s (not a typo, the name of the developer) Lexica is a very simple looking, insidiously addictive word puzzle game. An adaptation of a popular British newspaper staple, this one was picked up for the wife, but found itself in my greedy hands more often than not. This is an evil, evil piece of software.
Describing the nature of the puzzles is, humorously enough, easier to do in video than in words, but I will take a crack. The player is presented with a simple, blank crossword board that is surrounded at the sides with Scrabble-esque tiles. The tiles can be moved horizontally (for the ones positioned on the left or right) or vertically (the ones positioned on the top or bottom) into a blank space on the board. Moving the pieces to the correct space on the board will eventually fill in the crossword with real, actual words, as opposed to the ones I just made up out of frustration. (I need to figure out what “ihem” means and introduce it into the commonly accepted lexicon. It would make my puzzle solving so much easier.) There is, of course, only one solution for every puzzle. And the player is timed.
In so many words, the puzzles are Jumble meets crossword puzzles. There is a bit of Sudoku mixed in, as the first move is always finding the tiles that can only be in one place and building from there. To me, though, this is a more worthwhile use of time than the popular Japanese number puzzle. Sudoku, even the hardest ones, are simply a matter of counting to ten and figuring out which number is missing. Lexica taxes the player’s knowledge of the English language. I know that I picked up a couple of words from this one. (The wife was ashamed that I did not know what an ibex was.) (Zookeeper wife says “I wasn’t ashamed, I was sad because they’re awesome animals [wild goats with huge horns] and it’s a cool word to boot”.) I would be willing to concede that others might have an easier time with this compared to a Sudoku puzzle. Brains are wired differently. My problem is that I was never good at scrambled words or anagrams. My mind sees the letters as is and then goes with it. This is probably a microcosm of why I do not make games and instead choose to talk smack about other people’s work.
That is not to say that this game is perfect. I do have a couple of issues. First, there is no way to reset and replay puzzles that have previously been completed. d3t did not want the completion times to get gamed by folks who could complete a puzzle and then go back to set an impossible time record. But those of us who want to share with our spouses are left in a bit of a lurch, there. A simple fix would be to make the first time through the official time, and not “count” subsequent plays.
My other issue is the background color. It’s red. So much red. When I was a child, red was my favorite color. So much so that I was able to convince my parents, against their better judgement, to paint half of my room a deep, but vibrant red. I outgrew that. Now it can be taxing on the eyes to stare at red on a computer screen. I won’t say it was painful, but my eyes were cashed before my brain in a typical play session.
In my closing, I do like to mention the price. For good reason: value can play a big part in a purchasing decision. I am going to say that the three dollar asking price here is what the cool kids would call “stupid low.” There are tons of puzzles here with hours of gameplay. While you won’t be able to replay boards when you are done, it will take a long while to get through what is included. If you still aren’t convinced at three dollars, wait a bit. I have recently seen it on sale for as low as twenty nine cents. Do not let the price fool you though, this one is good. I ihem it. (No, that isn’t it.)