I couldn’t believe it. Two weeks ago I wrote a blog post about all the cool new games for the Kindle. And today I discover there’s 10 more games — including another new free game from Amazon!
It’s like a crazy hybrid that answers a riddle: What do you get when you cross Amazon’s “Every Word” game with a crossword puzzle? Just like Amazon’s original “Every Word,” this game presents one set of letters at the top of your screen, then challenges players to type every word that could be created from those letters. But this new version adds a twist: all those words form a crossword puzzle! If you’re stuck, just peek at the “across” and “down” words to see how many squares need to be filled in for each word, and see if any letters have already been filled in by the words that cross!
Amazon released this game — Every Word: Crossings — just five days ago. But they’ve also released a brand new version of their original “Every Word” game. It’s just like the first version, except now there’s an almost unlimited number of puzzles. (“Added over 3,600 new puzzles,” Amazon explains in a release note.) “Our most popular free game for Kindle just got better,” Amazon bragged on their Facebook page – and best of all, it’s still free! (Just point your web browser to amzn.to/roFOWM to download the newest version.)
But my favorite new Kindle game combines challenging brain teaser puzzles with…flowers! A grid of tiles represent the pipes that will irrigate the buds into blossoms. The graphics are very attractive, including the vines and grasses around the edges of the screen – and many of the puzzles are delightfully difficult. It’s from the makers of Strimko and Futoshiki, and even though it was released just a few weeks ago, Blossom’s already become one of Amazon’s top-20 most popular games.
But there’s another new game that has even more complicated graphics. A series of beautiful greyscale images depict scenes from the search for a missing African explorer. “Explore cities, temples, and ruins,” reads the game’s description on Amazon, “while unlocking the secrets of the professor’s groundbreaking research by finding objects hidden within pictures.” It’s one of the largest games ever released for the Kindle — the file size is 6.7 megabytes. But even at $4.99, Hidden Expedition: Amazon has already become the #1 best-selling game in the Kindle store!
There’s also some fascinating new number puzzles. Will Shortz, the editor of the New York Times crossword puzzles, put his name on a new Kindle version of the game KenKen. Like Sudoku, players try to add the correct digits into boxes without using any repeats in each row and column. But in this game, groups of boxes also indicate numbers that can be combined for a specific mathematical result. You’ll either be adding, multiplying, subtracting or dividing all the numbers in the grouped boxes to achieve the result – so you’ll have to work backwards to figure out which digits it could be!
And in the last two weeks, game-maker Puzzazz has released three different Sudoku collections – one of which was just released today! It’s Red Hot Sudoku, which promises 33 classic Sudoku puzzles which are guaranteed not to be too easy. “Sure, you need to know the rules of Sudoku,” promises the game’s description, “but you better have a few extra tricks up your sleeve if you want to tackle these puzzles!” If you’re just getting started, you might prefer Snap Sudoku #1, a collection of the game-maker’s easiest puzzles. (Its description at Amazon.com promises “calibrated super easy Sudoku puzzles…puzzles you can solve in a snap.”) And somewhere in between is a collection called Mad About Sudoku, 33 puzzles which the game-maker says “can be solved without heroic effort.”
I feel bad for Metalgrass Software. Ten days ago they released their very first game for the Kindle, a fun visual logic puzzle called Nonograms. It’s a collection of “simple yet challenging puzzles,” according to the game’s page on Amazon, “in which your goal is to uncover a hidden black and white pattern.” Unfortunately, two weeks earlier Amazon released their own free version in a nearly identical game called Pixel Perfect Puzzles. “Nonograms, Hanjie, Paint by Numbers, Griddlers are some of the names for this puzzle type,” explained one reviewer on Amazon, adding “It was originally developed by Non Ishida in Japan, in 1988.”
A similar problem seems to be confronting a company called CompuLab. Last month they released Word Quest, a collection of word-search puzzles for the Kindle — even though another company has already released two sets of Word Search puzzles for the Kindle. But at least one reviewer was delighted with a new feature in CompuLab’s version. “Interestingly, you can reset a puzzle — it will have the same words, but they will be in different locations!”
Last month there was also a surprising application for business travelers that was slipped into the Kindle game store. Password Manager lets you collect all your passwords into one secure location, so you can carry them all with you on your Kindle. (Protected by a password, of course.) “Password Manager can store up to 500 items,” reads its page in the Amazon Kindle store, “and includes templates for credit cards, bank accounts, PIN codes, frequent flyer numbers, web site log-ins, memberships and more.” It’ll also help suggest new passwords (and advise you on how difficult they’d be to guess), and “To help protect your data, your data is stored with AES encryption, and a security timeout feature will automatically log you off after 2 minutes of inactivity.” It’s currently priced at $4.99, though it sounds like for some Kindle owners, it could be very useful.
But I still think I’d rather play Blossom.