Developed by Blitz Games
Published by Konami
Price 800 MS points
Watch the trailer here.
“The Puzzle Isn’t In Getting To The Answer, It’s Translating It!”
First impressions are a dangerous thing. If one were to look at KrissX for only a second, it would seem juvenile and underwhelming – a cartoonish owl pointing at pre-solved crosswords sounds like a rather shallow game. But a blossoming sense of journalistic integrity washed over me, preventing me from firing off with first impressions, and I kept playing… and playing… and playing… and playing…
For those not in the know, ‘casual’ games like the infamous Peggle, Bejeweled, or Bookworm are veritable goldmines, raking in millions of dollars each year. The origin of the genre was to tap the 98% of the world that isn’t a hardcore gamer, and instead tap into the liquid capital that housewives, teenyboppers, and iPhone-users-at-bus-stops have at their disposal. “Serious” hardcore gamers often mock the genre for being, well, juvenile and underwhelming, but are prey to its dangerously seductive effects like any other. You see, the casual game is designed to be exceedingly simple to grasp…and impossibly addictive to put down. After losing the entire year 2008 to Peggle, I thought I had gotten the casual gaming bug out of my system, but KrissX has proved me wrong.
The game is amazingly simple to grasp. Pre-solved crossword puzzles await you, but the arrangement of letters in the crossword is awry. In as few swaps as possible, and as quickly as possible, your goal is to correct this mistake, earning points and badges (alongside traditional achievements) for doing so competently. Between levels, there are various quirks (rearrange the letters alphabetically as quickly as possible) that shake things up a little, inspiring you to get just a few more points out of each challenge. As you progress through the “story mode” of the game, you unlock challenge modes such as Time Attack, Timeless mode, or Capital Mode, where all words are capitals of various countries (betcha didn’t know the capital of Cyprus off the top of your head!). The extra modes of gameplay are like having a choice of flavour when you buy your cocaine fix: Don’t be surprised if the hours disappear from your free time as you try to collect just one more badge and play just one more new mode.
KrissX is a dangerous addition to the casual gameplay market, and I’m happy to see it on XBLA. Since Peggle became the reigning champion of wasted weekends and zombified housewives, it’s nice to see a qualified challenger rise up to meet it. Don’t brush KrissX off as a game for children – the casual game market might be open to all, but it’ll make you feel right at home.
Game Score 8.5/10
Download a free trial of the game here.
Watch the trailer here.