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Merriam-Webster Word Search by JSmart, Price: $6.95
Reviewed October 2003 by David Peach

As a simple word search game, it is not complicated on paper or on the handheld. JSmart did a good job in keeping the game basic. There are 25 different categories from which to choose. Each time you start a category, you get 6 randomly chosen words out of a list of 12. This means that it is possible to play this thousands of times before repeating a game. It could take years before you play them all. Jsmart has also released a Volume 2 of the Word Search with additional puzzle topics and word collection.

The game play is straightforward. You select the puzzle topic you want and it lays out the puzzle board containing the words in that topic for you. You have the 6 words you are searching for at the bottom of the screen. When you find a word, you click on the first letter and then the last letter to circle it. This can be done in reverse by selecting the last and then the first letter. One of the features that I really like about the game is that when you find a word, it is deleted from your word list. When you win a game, it tells you how many moves it took to solve the puzzle.

There are two buttons at the bottom of the game screen: Quit and Solve. They do just what you would expect them to do. There are only three menu items: Exit, Help, and About. This is not a complicated game, so the 82 word help file is sufficient. The interface looks clean, which makes it easy to see the words.

When I installed the game, it appeared on my general applications tab instead of the game tab. When first starting a game, all the text is easily readable. But as the game is played, the letters become pixilated, sometimes making it difficult to distinguish between letters. This is remedied by going out to the main desktop and then reentering the game. This way you get to keep your game running, but force a screen redraw. An oddity occurred on some boards that had three letter words. Sometimes the word in the word list would appear twice on the board. Only one is valid. This comes from randomly laying out the board. I am sure it could happen with longer words, but the odds would be slim. Merriam-Webster Word Search is compatible with the Sharp Zaurus SL-5500, SL-5600, SL-A300, SL-B500, SL-C700.

screen shot

Vol. 1
Vol. 2

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics Graphics are simple and words are easy to see. The pixilation of the letters is annoying though easily remedied.
Sound N/A No sound.
Fun Meter For a word puzzle fan, this game has a potential to be your long-term game with good collection of topics and words in two large volumes.
Addictivity Would be greatly helped by having a timer to make the solving a challenge, therefore getting you to try and beat the best time.


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