Crickle gives you the option to try before you buy – 15 free plays and then you have the option to purchase the full game for 99p – which is a good thing because I’m not convinced that it’s worth your money. Launched in the UK on Friday 3rd February, the accompanying press release describes it as “an interesting experience as it pulls at the mind in a new way”.
And yet it looks suspiciously like a deconstructed version of Scrabble crossed with the graphical style of Alphabear. It’s aimed at a wide age range and can be downloaded for free on both Android and iOS. The name comes from the Old English for “stream”, which is apparently a reference to the way in which words stream down the screen. Games take between two to ten minutes and it’s quite easy to get immersed. Like many other phone games of its type, Crickle is strangely addictive once you get into it.
The rules are relatively simple. Much like Scrabble, you have a rack of letters with numbers in the lower right hand corner, indicating the number of points available should you play it. For the game to accept the word, it has to link to the word above. Again, this is much like Scrabble except you don’t have one, square board but a series of lines. Each move you make has to be on a new line and the words must link together via repeated letters. This means that you’re not confined to the letters in your rack, otherwise it’d make for a pretty short game. Out of necessity, you’re allowed to take one or two letters from the row above and have them “float” down, although that letter will not score any points on the new line.
Although it doesn’t take long to figure out, through a combination of the provided tutorial and trial/error, the game is badly explained and the points system is unclear. However, the graphics are nice and clean with a muted green-ish color pallet, the sound effects are relatively non-intrusive, and the mechanics of the game are both smooth and simple. It looks nice, sounds nice and plays well. There are multiple types of game available: fun, challenge and custom. However, if you want to play a custom level, you’re going to have to pay.
There are already a bunch of similar games out there, from the classic Scrabble to Alphabear to Word with Friends. Crickle is an interesting twist on the classics but it’s nothing revolutionary. Personally, I’d rather have the increased competitiveness of Scrabble or the gorgeous graphics of Alphabear over this any day. It doesn’t really add anything to the range of word games already available on iOS and Android but will do quite nicely if what you’re looking for is an easy way to waste half an hour.
Download the app here: http://www.cricklegame.com/