My grandma was one of those people that would insist on having at least one puzzle book on the coffee table at all times. Should the need arise – or if there was a spare moment – she would delve in and complete the next sequential puzzle. She always left the codebreakers to me though and I would feverishly try and finish them whilst she was making some of the best cooked food I’ve ever tested.
She doesn’t do much cooking anymore, but I am sure she would gorge herself on the latest offering from Lightwood Games, Crypto by POWGI.
Unlike some of their other games released on Xbox – Word Sudoku by POWGI or Roundout by POWGI – where the husband and wife team have taken existing puzzle concepts and given them a unique spin, with Crypto by POWGI, this is very much your quintessential codebreaker.
There are over 200 quotes from famous faces – 30 of which are unique to Xbox platforms – that have had their letters replaced by another one and players need to ‘crack the code’. It might sound tricky, but after only a few you can start to notice patterns; one-letter words are either going to be ‘A’ or ‘I’ and apostrophes can be easily deciphered after that. Once you have figured these out, other words usually start to form and then it is only a matter of time before the full quote is revealed.
Expect to see quotes from the likes of Bob Ross, Harry Hill, Paris Hilton, Isaac Asimov, Eric Cantona, David Lynch and hundreds more. With names such as these, expect the quotes to be profound, inspirational and more than a little bit funny.
If you have ever played a …by POWGI game, then you will feel at home with Crypto also. The UI and control scheme are all uniform across the titles. This does bring a few problems though, mainly with having to scroll through the list of famous names each time you return to the main menu. It will also only highlight puzzles you have completed. Any that you have started but not yet completed aren’t highlighted in a different colour; something which is frustrating.
The control scheme can also be a bit fiddly at times too, but only when checking for errors. This is done by pressing both the left and right bumper at the same time, but it never works first time. I’m not sure whether the timing window on the two presses is so miniscule that I am missing it or if it is just unresponsive. Either way, it seems a bit overkill having to press the two buttons when only three of the four face buttons are utilised.
Crypto by POWGI is also one of the easier …by POWGI games. Word Sudoku has varying difficulties to choose from, Roundout had some tricky eight letter words to find; even One Word had some hard wordsearches to complete. But with Crypto, once you have completed one puzzle and got the hang of it, that is the difficulty curve scaled.
But what this does mean is that Crypto by POWGI – like all the others – has some very easy achievements. Once again, the achievement names are delightfully punny. This time around, there are 32 to unlock, and each one is related to a specific puzzle or person. Each achievement is also worth 30G, except for Oprah’s, which is worth 70G.
But no, her quote isn’t “Were you silent, or were you silenced?”.
Crypto by POWGI is also Optimised for Xbox Series X|S but, to be honest, these are hardly the most memory intensive games your Xbox will ever play. But having these word puzzles up on a big screen do inadvertently bring in some outside help. Even my non-gamer partner will help out if she sees me playing a codebreaker. So maybe having it in 4K isn’t such a bad thing?
Crypto by POWGI on Xbox is perhaps the easiest title from the four now available from the Lightwood Games team, so achievement hunters can rejoice. For those looking for an exciting word puzzle game, this doesn’t really offer anything new or unique like some of the others do. Once you have got the hang of the puzzle tropes, Crypto then just becomes a rinse and repeat exercise with very little difficulty. But, if you’re like me, it will bring back some charming memories of simpler – and tastier – times.