A few years ago I'd played two puzzle games on Android, both by a developed called Blue Ox Technologies. The games were 7 Little Words and Red Herring, and the former was more about figuring out words based on crossword-puzzle-like clues, whereas the second was more about grouping words into Jeopardy-like categories.

Based on these games Amazon's recommendations suggested I try out the game Bonza, and it's easy to see why. The game, by Australian developer MiniMega, probably wasn't designed to be a combination of the two Blue Ox games, but its gameplay is reminiscent of (and superior) to both. Bonza is easy to pick up and understand. Like 7 Little Words you have a set of pieces of words to put together, but instead of individual clues like in a regular crossword, the words all connect to the puzzle's category. The words connect horizontally and vertically like a crossword, and each puzzle has a really nice pace where at first you're at a loss of where to begin (especially with the more cryptic clues), but as you figure out more and more words your momentum build up right until you slot in the last piece. The design is minimalistic (perhaps a little bit too much so as the game has only a few sound effects and lacks even background music), but it's satisfying to put together words even for the straightforward puzzles (e.g. colors).

The larger puzzles can be take quite a bit of brain power to solve, but the game offers up free hints given out just for watching an ad. The game offers up plenty of free puzzles as well as a daily free puzzle. You earn in-game coins from completing puzzles, and you can unlock additional packs from these coins once you've accrued enough.

Bonza was a pleasant surprise, and one of my favorite word-based smartphone games Ive come across thus far. It looks like it'll take me a good while to get through the free puzzles, and by then I wouldn't mind throwing some money at the developers for what is a wholly enjoyable word puzzle game. The game is available on the Apple Store, Google Play, and Amazon, so it should be easy to track down if you're interested.

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