Color Cross is a unique $4 puzzle game for iPhone from Little Worlds Studio with a free lite counterpart. The developer compares Color Cross to Soduku, but I actually think it’s more like the board game Mastermind.
Fortunately, the game features a detailed tutorial mode, because it’s a bit tough to explain in words—but I’ll try. You’re presented with a square grid, and you must fill in tiles with the appropriate colors. Numbers outside the grid indicate how many tiles of each color need to be placed in a given row or column. Using logic and patience—and often switching between displays for different colors—you can deduce how to fill out the entire grid to form a pattern or picture.
It’s a clever mechanic, and one that was entirely new to me. Unfortunately, Color Cross is hindered by some frustrating interface shortcomings: On larger grids, the individual tiles get so small that it’s very difficult to tap on them individually—and you’re penalized for tapping the wrong ones. You can zoom in, which makes sense, but that forces the number hints outside the grid to overlap in confusing ways. When playing fully zoomed-out, you can still drag the grid around the screen (for no apparent reason), which I did again and again when I was trying to fill a line or column with tiles.
In spite of these weaknesses, I like Color Cross. I think there’s room for improvement, and it won’t earn records as “most played game” on my iPhone, but it’s a fun occasional diversion.
The free Color Cross Lite offers fewer puzzles and lacks the multiple play modes, but it’s just as fun to play. If you become hopelessly addicted, you’ll want to pony up for the premium level just to get at the extra levels.
Color Cross is compatible with any iPhone or iPod touch running the iPhone 2.2.1 software update.