Welcome to Susan Arendt's latest column on Pocket Gamer. In 2018 we've recruited the best writers and most experienced gamers in the industry and asked them to inspire us. Today Susan takes a look at Puzzle Page, and finds it to be the perfect companion for a coffee break...
Ah, the daily paper. Home of news, the sports page, comics, and (most importantly) pencil puzzles. Or pen puzzles if you're one of those people who feels the need to show off. Word scrambles, crosswords, sudoku, hidden words, and cryptograms all were waiting as your reward for having made it to the back of the paper.
Or at least they were. Do they still do that? I don't actually know, I haven't touched a newspaper in years.
Now that we get our news delivered to our phones via app (Facebook is not for news, stop it), there seems to be less and less reason to bother with paper and ink, which has left a puzzle sized gap in our daily coffee drinking - until now.
Behold Puzzle Page, which does exactly what the back page of the paper used to do, only a bit more elegantly, truth be told. Every day, you are served up a selection of pencil puzzles; as I peruse today's samplings, I see a picross, two different kinds of crossword, and a "word slide", which I've never heard of.
The types of puzzles change every day, though you can pretty much count on at least one crossword. Should there be a puzzle you've not seen before, you can consult a full set of instructions before you spend the tokens to unlock it. That's how I got the heads up that a certain kind of puzzle used maths and nooooo thank you. Hard pass.
The touch screen allows for some pleasant shortcuts to entering answers. I particularly appreciated not having to comb the entire alphabet to peck out the answers to a crossword clue; instead, I had to divine the word from a smaller subset of letters provided.
Purists will argue that makes solving crosswords easier, but I say it just combines crossword solving with word jumbles. Whichever camp you're in, you'll appreciate not having to dig around for a pen when you finally know the answer.
There are the usual mechanics for a game that wants you to visit daily, like earning bonuses for consecutive days played. Given this is the perfect game to bust out while you're having your morning toast, it should be easy to get those rewards, but should you not feel like counting on that, there's a subscription model that lets you replay puzzles, unlocks special events and other goodies.
Should you discover that you especially fancy a particular kind of puzzle, you can dive into one of Puzzle Pages' special collections, where you'll be treated to nothing but your chosen style of brain-bender.
The coins you earn for solving puzzles can buy hints when you're stumped, and some games even have both "pencil" and "pen" tools to make sure you can take back an answer you're not sure about.
If you've ever ripped the crossword from the comics page and stuck it in your bag so you could do it on lunch hour, you will adore Puzzle Pages. And if you've never done that...well, frankly, I question your upbringing, but grab Puzzle Pages and enjoy the perfect companion to your coffee break.Read more of Susan Arendt's columns on Pocket Gamer, and find out more about Puzzle Page on the game's App Store page. If you're looking for more columns, then check out Harry Slater and Jon Jordan, who are always on-hand with sharp, tasty opinions too.