The Xbox Live Arcade library is a mixed bag. There are some obvious stars, some clunkers, and the occasional diamond in the rough. KrissX (pronounced kriss-kross) from newcomer Regolith games is a puzzle/word game that delivers a surprising amount of fun and replay value and stands out among the somewhat dull offerings within the genre’s listing on XBL.
With four different modes of play, hundreds of puzzles, leaderboards and achievements, KrissX offers more than expected, but is it worth 800 Microsoft Points, especially to the “hardcore” gamer? Decide for yourself after reading the HOTs and NOTs.
There’s plenty to do, and when you’re done with that, there’s still more to do. There are four modes of play: Quest Mode (puzzles start off easy and get progressively more difficult as time limits and other obstacles are added), Time Attack Mode (puzzles are timed and must be completed to progress), Timeless Mode (for casual players who simply enjoy the game with no pressure) and Special Puzzles (puzzles offering a unique challenge based around various themes). Each mode offers different “badges” you can receive for completing tasks; earning badges and eventually completing the collection unlocks achievements and is no easy task. Although there is none as of yet, there is a section for downloadable content so once the game becomes stale, there might be some DLC to spice it up again.
KrissX is for everyone; easy to pick up and play, kid friendly visuals with mom and dad appeal, and doesn’t have a huge time commitment attached to it. Puzzles are laid out in a crossword style or grid formation, and two letters at a time are switched in order to complete the word and the puzzle. In Quest Mode, after each level is completed, you may exit and re-enter at the same point you left without losing your progress. Completing the first twenty levels (a relatively straightforward task) unlocks the other three modes, and from there, you can simply play the game to your heart’s content without penalty. Although the challenges become more difficult as they go along, they never are completely impossible and usually solved within a few minutes. It’s genuinely addicting; once you start, you’ll find yourself trying to get further and further along.
Old Dog/New Trick
What KrissX offers that most other puzzle and word games don’t is a clever twist: adding an element of player interaction not necessarily seen in other games of the genre. After progressing a little in Quest Mode, the game introduces a unique concept: By completing words and puzzles fast and with the smallest amount of letter switches possible, tokens are unlocked and begin floating towards the bottom of the screen. The player must then press the appropriate colored button (X, Y and B) to collect the token and add to their overall score. By involving the player in this way, this game seems more interactive overall (as opposed to simply solving the puzzle, moving on to the next, rinse and repeat). Solving the initial few words might be easy, but trying to do it quickly while collecting all the tokens is no picnic. You’ll be scrambling to add to your score and earn the badges that come with collecting them.
It’s (sort-of) Free Online
Not only is KrissX available on the Regolith Games website, but it’s also free on Facebook. (Author’s Note: The version on the website and Facebook is extremely limited, the XBL version offers boatloads of content in comparison!) Being available to virtually everyone online, especially on a social networking giant like Facebook, makes the 800MS Points price tag a little hard to swallow, especially since the developer is relatively unknown. Perhaps making the game available at a better value might convince people to pony up the dough. Achievements and Leaderboards just aren’t enough to make gamers who wouldn’t necessarily purchase a puzzle/word game take the risk.
KrissX offers more than the usual underwhelming titles in the puzzle/word genre, and does this task well. Combining brain power with reflexes and a refreshing setting, this game is fun, and that’s what gaming is about. Unfortunately, this game might fall short on the hardcore gamer and it will be interesting to see if the 800MS Points will deter them from an otherwise solid game. Hopefully, Regolith’s future offerings will hit the right price point and still retain the solid game design techniques that make this game better than average.KrissX Review,