Word Search is a classic puzzle game often found printed in magazines and newspapers. Long before the days of smartphone apps and Sudoku, it was the game that helped users of all ages to while away long and boring car journeys.
Word Search is still popular, most likely due to its incredible simplicity. For those who need an explanation, the aim of the game is to spot a series of words in a grid of letters. Anyone can do it, and it's easy to lose hours as you hunt down hidden words.
There's very little difference between Candy Mobile's smartphone or tablet version of Word Search and the classic game, other than the fact that it's gone from a printed puzzle book to a digital format. However, the beauty of digitising the game means you can adjust the size of the grid – it still takes up the same amount of space onscreen, but by reducing the number of letters those with poor eyesight are able to increase their size. Of course, this also makes the game a lot easier, with fewer words to find. We also found we struggled to select letters at the far edges of the grid, even when using the game's smallest 8x8 grid. See also: Best Android Apps.
In its Android form, you can also change the language and background wallpaper. With English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish to choose between, even if you aren't multilingual you may find that changing the language can ramp up the difficulty level. Also in the Settings menu is the ability to view high scores, with different leaderboards for the individual grid sizes, although it isn't possible to share your scores with other players online or through social media.
To save space, Word Search lists only six words onscreen at once; you can scroll through to reveal the rest. Many of the words you're asked to find are not common terms, which means you'll have to actively search for them rather than accidentally stumbling upon them. Those that you've already found appear yellow, so you won't waste time looking for them again. Word Search also uses different colours to cross out words you've found to stop things getting confusing, which is particularly useful when some of the letters are used in several different words.
You're given three hints for free, for when you just can't find a particular word. After this you'll need to buy hints if you wish to continue using them, which cost from $1.99 for 10 to $99.99 for 900. It seems unlikely that anyone would want to do so, given that you can simply start a new game, but those who are so competitive that they're willing to pay to beat their own high score may find the facility useful. (Plus, we thought everyone knew that if you can't find a word you simply look for all instances of its first letter and look at those immediately surrounding it?)
Of course, the developer still stands to get some income from the many Fish Live ads dotted around the app.
With no fast-moving graphics, this game is unlikely to sap your smartphone or tablet's battery. But it does prevent the display from switching off, so be sure to close Word Search when you get bored.