The creators of Bonza, Australian independent studio Minimega, captioned it “a new kind of crossword.” In reality, it is almost the opposite of a crossword.
Try to imagine a crossword puzzle that has already been completed, but someone has cut it into pieces consisting of one to four squares. There is no clue for every word, just a clue for the whole puzzle that defines its theme. Your job is to put the pieces together into several nested words.
In two weeks, Bonza will be released on Apple and Android touchscreen devices, and it’s the kind of game this interface is perfect for: a no-typing word game that requires you to simply slide puzzle pieces.
For example, a puzzle might be titled “things you can waste” and the letter tiles can be arranged to form words like “time”, “breath”, “money” and “youth”. Things get more difficult when the clue is a single word with only the first letter visible – I stared with no idea at a puzzle titled “p —-” for five minutes before my boyfriend looked over it. my shoulder and tells me it was “pasta”.
It’s a game with a strangely erratic pace. Even late in the game, I would alternately go through a puzzle, then I was left puzzled, only to move on to the next. If you’re completely stuck, you can spend in-game Coins, earned by solving puzzles, to solve a word for you. That said, you get five pieces per puzzle, and a free word costs 50, so it’s not something you can do often.
Bonza is awesome – smart puzzles, a clean, engaging layout, and a smooth soundtrack – but I have one complaint. For $ 0.99 you get the game, 70 puzzles, and access to a daily puzzle. There are more puzzles available, but each set of 30 costs an additional $ 0.99. In other words, each additional pack costs the same as the original game but only provides half the content. Of course, we are talking about very small amounts of money, but the perception of value seems far away.
Despite that, 70 puzzles for the dollar is pretty decent, so even if you only buy the base game, you should have a good time. It took me about three to four hours to complete all of the basic content, but I’m not the greatest Scrabble player in the world – puzzle experts may be able to go through in just an hour or two.
I’d be happier if Minimega could tweak these prices to feel a bit fairer, but overall Bonza is a quality product from a small local team, and I highly recommend picking it up when it’s released, especially if you are a fan of word games.
Bonza will be released on the iOS App Store and Android Marketplace for $ 0.99 on March 20.