Spellsquares: Cursed Moon ($3.99) by Benthic LLC is a fun mix of Scrabble, Sudoku, and a mystery adventure game. In this adventure, you solve a series of word games to journey through a darkened castle, collecting clues and items to help you lift a vile curse that an evil wizard has placed on the moon. Spellsquares: Cursed Moon is essentially a series of word games with a spiced up plot to entertain you as you complete the challenging fill-in-the-blank puzzles.
The Spellsquare puzzles are scattered throughout the castle environment. Each puzzle is represented by a glowing blue square, and when you tap it, you’re transported to a word game that must be solved to progress. Every word puzzle consists of an arrangement of 3×3, 4×4, or 5×5 squares, with the beginning of words partially filled in. It is your goal to fill in the missing letters and form a word in each column and row.
You’re given an assortment of letters, and completing the puzzle is done by dragging a letter into a blank space. When all of the letters are in place and the square is filled in, you are able to move on to the next puzzle. Gameplay is similar to Sudoku with letters, and increasingly difficult puzzles prevent this game from becoming boring.
Completed puzzles unlock doors, defeat enemies, open new game areas, and reveal clues to help you advance through the castle. If a word puzzle is too difficult, you can come back to it later (the game saves all of your letter positions), or use one of many available hints.
Each room contains one coin, and these coins are redeemed at the gypsy for items that reveal letters and check your progress. Use these hints sparingly on easier levels, because there’s always a harder puzzle to come.
Once you’ve finished the game, you can increase the difficulty and go through it again, or use the Quick Play option to play 60 additional puzzles.
I’m a fan of word games and the puzzles in Spellsquares: Cursed Moon were engaging and fun to solve. In fact, the puzzles stand so well on their own that I almost felt like the adventure castle setting was unnecessary to the game, and even frustrating at times.
It was not always obvious what the next move was, especially when I encountered a stained glass window puzzle that was not the glowing square I was accustomed to. I overlooked the solution several times before I figured out how to progress. However, the small break from puzzle playing every once in awhile did come as a welcome relief.
Spellsquares: Cursed Moon crashed at least three times while I was playing it, but I have been assured by the developers that updates with fixes and new content are coming this summer.