In the world of "throw RPG mechanics onto a tried-and-true game genre to create awesomeness," one of the most promising examples was Crossword Dungeon [$3.99] from developer Nolithius. Released in the fall of 2012, Crossword Dungeon was a game that blended crossword puzzle-solving with dungeon crawling and RPG mechanics. It totally worked at its most basic level, but was somewhat diminished by a lack of words and variety in its gameplay. It's been a long time coming, but a brand new update has solved most of those issues, and if you missed it before then Crossword Dungeon is totally something you should check out now.
The idea behind Crossword Dungeon is that the crossword puzzle itself is the dungeon, with each letter of the puzzle being a new room. You're given a clue for each word in the puzzle, just like a normal crossword, but it's actually easier because you're given a selection of eight different letters that could be the solution for the current letter your character is standing on. If you aren't sure of the letter, you can choose one as a guess, and this is where your character's attributes come into play as you'll "battle" against the monster occupying that letter's spot. Every "floor" of the dungeon has an exit point, and once you've completed the letter for that exit you'll move onto the next floor and a new puzzle with new words. The object is to dive as deep as possible as the puzzles and words become more difficult.
With this new update, there are more than 100 new words added to the game as well as a new algorithm to ensure words are repeated less frequently. There's also some new monsters and tweaks to how the magic attacks work. Finally, the game is now Universal so you can enjoy it on the larger screen of the iPad. Crossword Dungeon was already really awesome despite its quirks, but with this new update it feels more like the game I always knew it could be. If you're a fan of mixing RPG elements into word or puzzle games, then make sure you check out the newly-updated Crossword Dungeon and hit up the forum thread for more discussion.
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