iPhone Review: Scruzzleword

Review: Scruzzleword

Release: July 1, 2009

Genre: Puzzle

Developer: YMedia Labs

Available Platforms: iPhone/ iPod Touch

Players: 1

MSRP: $1.99


YMedia Labs promotes Scruzzleword as what would happen “if Sudoku and Scrabble had a baby.” It sounds unusual, to be sure; but it’s actually a surprisingly accurate description. At it’s core, Scruzzleword is a simple crossword puzzle. However, rather than forcing you to drag and drop letters like some other games on the iPhone, Scruzzleword lays out all of the letters from each answer on the playing grid at the beginning. Only about four letters are in the correct place at the start of each game. It’s then up to the player to swap them out to the right spot based on clues provided to from correctly placed letters.  When a letter gets dropped in the right slot, it locks into place and turns from white to gold.

Scruzzleword provides two modes of play: Beginner and Challenge.  In beginner mode, all correctly placed letters can be clicked for clues; it’s a great format for a quick game on a bus or between classes. In Challenge mode, only correct letters that aren’t adjacent to another letter can be clicked for clues. This game type takes longer and requires some very strategic thinking. Of course, luck still comes into play when uncovering clues and completing words; since players must pick two letters to swap when filling in an answer, it’s not uncommon to randomly land a correct letter by accident.

I like Scruzzleword for a number of reasons; the diversity of gametypes is actually quite remarkable given that there are only two options. Whereas Beginner mode is great for a leisurely (and rather easy) 5 minute crossword,  Challenge mode feels like a completely different game in both pace and strategy. The clues are a mix of easy “gimmes” and difficult wordplay, and best of all, they rarely repeat. Due to the nature of the rules, it may be quite some time before you ever encounter a repeated word clue if you stick to challenge mode. The controls are intuitive, and the idea of swapping two letters to complete words is a fantastic, innovative approach to crossword puzzles. I really feel like this game doesn’t have any weaknesses in terms of gameplay and content.

Having said that, I do feel compelled to point out that I had frequent stability issues with the game. Almost anytime I re-entered a game following an interruption from a call or text message, I found that the game would crash when I attempted to pull up a clue. Needless to say, I found this terribly annoying; the crashes proved to be unrecoverable each time, and I accordingly had to restart the puzzle that I had been working on. I know what you’re thinking- yes, it’s a major issue. However, this is the iPhone we’re talking about; it’s almost a sure bet that a fix will be issued soon due to the simplicity of iTunes app updates.

Giving a thumbs-up to Scruzzleword is a no-brainer- this game is a great buy for only $1.99. I’ve already had hours of fun playing Scruzzleword, and it has actually become one of my new favorite iPhone apps. Fans of Sudoku, Scrabble, and crosswords alike will all find something familiar in this game. If you’re still not sure that Scruzzleword is for you, then give the free version a try before purchasing the full release. Links to both apps can be found below.

Redwood City, Calif. – July 1, 2009 — Ymedia Labs, a developer of casual games and social media applications, announced today that Scruzzleword is now available for the Apple® iPhoneTMand iPod® Touch. Priced at $1.99, this inventive new word puzzler is a sure bet for those looking to flex their craniums and stretch their vocabulary muscles!

To be among the Scruzzleword elite, players will need to move fast and think even faster. This vocabulary busting word game is packed to the brim with 50 different puzzles. It also features two different modes of gameplay, beginner and challenge. But don’t get caught up in the details, because every second counts in this timed war of words!

“Scruzzleword takes the best of crossword, mixes it with a little Sudoku, and then flips it on its ear to create one of the best word games available,” said Ashish Toshniwal of Ymedia Labs. “The game was designed with intuitive controls and friendly gameplay elements, which mean players of all ages and skill levels will enjoy this game.”

Scruzzleword features hours of engaging game play and is suitable for players of all ages. For more information, please visit: To purchase Scruzzleword, please visit the App Store here. A free version of the game is also available on the App Store here.

Those that are fans of crosswords and games like Sudoku, Scrabble and Word Search will absolutely enjoy Scruzzleword!

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