Horizon Zero Dawn Review – A Pre-Historic Post-Apocalyptic Videogame!

Horizon Zero Dawn is an open world, story-based action role-playing videogame. It was released by Guerilla Games in 2017 for PlayStation exclusively, but that changed with its recent Windows release in 2020. The PC version also comes with the Frozen Wilds DLC that provides extra content. It borrows a lot of aspects from other games, but this does not make it boring. Horizon Zero Dawn has been acclaimed by both fans and critics alike. Because of its refreshing gameplay and amazing plot, the game is super popular to this date. And in this Horizon Zero Dawn review, we will discover the true beauty of this game together.

Storyhorizon zero dawn story

Story is perhaps the best aspect of Horizon Zero Dawn. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world that is ruled by machines. The world was destroyed by an unknown event that no one knows about. Slowly, clans, societies, tribes, and kingdoms start to arise, forming an interesting lore for you to enjoy. The story follows Aloy, whom you play as. She is a member of the Nova tribe that gets attacked for an unclear reason. Thus starts her journey to find more about the attacks, and to better understand humanity’s origins. The story is very dense and provides a lot of mysteries for you to solve till the end. Each character also has a solid background that makes you care for them deeply.


The gameplay of Horizon Zero Dawn is very satisfying. You fight against 26 distinct animal-like machines. You use two of your weapons – either a spear to get in close range, or a bow that shoots off projectiles – to destroy them. Each machine is different, so you’ll have to spend some time learning about each one and understand their weak points. All of them have different weak points that you must recognize as hitting different points will result in different outcomes for a battle. The best thing is there is no tutorial for any of the beasts, so you spend time learning about them in your own time. As you learn, it improves your survival chance and the ability to hunt them down. You also have other weapons like the tripcaster, sling, or a rope gun. Your weapons can hold different special attributes that let you deal with different situations. Throughout the game, you will be able to upgrade your weaponry by purchasing from merchants. Enemy designs are very unique, thus giving you a new experience each time. Each machine has a different fighting style so you must learn patterns and how to avoid their attacks. Overall, the combat feels versatile and does a very good job at providing you with a challenging and thrilling experience.


Horizon Zero Dawn has beautiful graphics that will leave you in awe. The game features a well-designed post-apocalyptic world with great attention to detail. Accompanied by the soothing soundtrack and rhythmic music, it truly feels like an otherworldly experience to play in Horizon Zero Dawn’s world.


Conclusively, the game is worthy of all the praise it has gotten. It offers an amazing narrative story, a really intricate gameplay with a lot of complexities, and one of the most stunning graphics ever in videogames. The game does not feel lacking anywhere which just shows how much work the developers put into it. Additionally, there is a Frozen Wilds DLC that unlocks special content for you to enjoy. Horizon Zero Dawn is a must-play for everyone.

Ghostrunner Review – A Mesmerizing Cyberpunk Experience

Ghostrunner is a cyberpunk action game that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. The game is a blend of Doom, Titanfall, and Dishonored with the perfect visuals and aesthetics that give you an immersive experience of the cyberpunk city. With its pleasant and immersive cyberpunk feel, this FPP slasher fantasy game stands out against its competitors. Although the developers One More Level and Slipgate6 are not big names in the videogame industry, Ghostrunner’s popularity soared quickly after its launch in October 2020, making it one of the most popular games set in dystopian times. So, without further ado, I shall talk about everything you need to know before playing the game in this Ghostrunner review.

Gameplay:ghostrunner gameplay

The gameplay mechanics of Ghostrunner is one of its many strong suits. The player controls a deadly swordsman wielding a katana who is also a bio-engineered human of sorts. The game progresses through many levels. You travel through dangerous environments, jump around, run on walls, and kill your enemies strategically and skillfully. You acquire numerous abilities later on, which helps to balance the power dynamic between you and the bosses. The levels are constructed in a puzzle-like manner with a variety of enemies that kill you differently. The challenges are pretty rough and punishing at times, and you will find yourself dying a lot. Enemies can kill you in 1 hit, so you have to be wary about your movements. However, you respawn instantly at a nearby checkpoint, allowing you to instantly get back into those fights. Ghostrunner requires a lot of practice, skill, and determination. It is, however, a super addictive game.


Ghostrunner’s weakest part is its story which takes place in the city Dharma Tower, which safekeeps humanity – or whatever’s left of it after a cataclysmic event called ‘The Burst’. At the start, the Ghostrunner finds himself thrown out of a building by an evil ruler named Mara. Having no recollection of what happened in his life, the swordsman starts hearing voices in his head; from an entity called ‘The Architect’ who serves as his guide. He soon finds himself on a journey to defeat Mara whom he faces after battling a number of enemies and technologically advanced super-soldiers. Mara finally gets defeated after a pretty intense fight. However, there is a twist! The Architect is exposed to be the creator and ruler of the Dharma Tower who wishes to control all humanity, making him worse than Mara. With that said, the ghostrunner destroys the Architect – thus freeing humanity. While writing this Ghostrunner review, I realized that the story does get somewhat predictable, and the ending is not that great either. If you are smart enough, you will sense the ‘plot twist’ from miles away.


Ghostrunner provides breathtaking visuals with a hands-on immersive cyberpunk atmosphere that just pulls you deep into its world. Its neon signs, weird architecture, gloomy lighting and, grim ambient music, and intense beats, all make it so successfully robust.


The game is super well-crafted with a lot of attention to detail and soundtracks that boost your adrenaline. Not only that, Ghostrunner provides challenging gameplay that can be frustrating sometimes, but it is handsomely rewarding once you understand the mechanics. Though, it is pretty short. The only real downside is its mundane plot which I discussed in this Ghostrunner review.

Devil May Cry 5 Review – The devil hunter is back

Devil May Cry 5 is the fifth instalment of the long-running Devil May Cry series that is developed by Capcom. It was released in 2019 and features the same action-adventure gameplay like the rest of the games. The game sold more than 2 million copies under 2 weeks and surpassed 3 million sales soon after, making it the best-selling game of the franchise. Devil May Cry 5’s brilliant and imaginative design makes it worthy of all the praise it gets. It follows the same devil hunter protagonist Dante who is back once again after demons invaded the Earth. The game also introduces some new characters and unique skills to improve your experience. In this Devil May Cry 5 Review, I will talk about the overall new features and what makes this newest title so exciting for its fans across the globe.

GameplayDevil may cry 5 gameplay

The game features the same two main characters Dante and Nero from the previous series. Additionally, there is a new character V whom you will be able to control. Each character has a unique combat style, but you can discover your own approach. Devil May Cry 5’s gameplay is still very similar to its predecessors in the sense that all of them feature a fast-paced action combat. You will be fighting numerous monsters and demons throughout the game equipped with unique skills and weapons. Based on your fighting style, you will also be tagged with a ‘style rating’ that is based on factors such as your move variety, your average combo length and how successfully you dodge attacks. If you have played the previous games, you will remember Nero as the wielder of Red Queen for melee combat, and his double-barreled revolver, Blue Rose. Instead of his demonic arm, he is equipped with new robotic arms called Devil Breakers that allows you to perform series of actions. You will find Devil Breakers throughout stages; however, there is one catch. If you use a Devil Breaker incorrectly, it will shatter. Dante’s style of fighting is similar to his persona in Devil May Cry 4. He can alternate between 4 styles to create new techniques or block incoming demon attacks. Dante retains his signature weapons ‘Rebellion’ and ‘Devil Sword Sparda’, and some other weapons that he used in the previous series. Dante’s combat style is fast and deadly, and will allow you to land some great hits. V has a very different style than the other characters. He wields a book and a silver cane, that allow him to spawn demons to fight for him. He has a simple combat style, and uses his spawns to distract the enemies. His slow pace will allow you to analyze the battles much better so you are able to think out your moves properly. DMC 5 has very dynamic gameplay and is much more fast-paced than the rest of the titles. You will constantly be learning new combos to defeat your enemies in fun and exciting ways.

Storydevil may cry 5 story

As discussed in the gameplay, there are 3 main playable characters. Similarly, there are 3 different stories that you will be progressing. Dante, Nero, and V are after a demon named Urizen. The demon is in possession of unusual powers due to a tree called Qliphoth. Dante, Nero, and V team up with their fellow hunters to put an end to Urizen. The 3 demon hunters seemingly have different paths, but they converge into one tale in the end. The story overall feels a little rushed and somewhat lacking, though the ending can get a little emotional for the fans of DMC’s universe.

Graphicsdevil may cry 5 graphics

DMC 5 has some of the best graphics of all time. It provides amazing visual aesthetics and cut scenes. Each of the monsters is super detailed with over-the-top particle details that leave you completely mesmerized. Character designs are stunning, and the fight animations feel really fluid. The only downside is the game environment that feels somewhat average.


Devil May Cry is honestly a treat for all its fans who have waited years for its release. It provides amazing combat features and a soundtrack that will hit you with nostalgia. The game is a great remake and features some of the best fighting elements. With the insane number of weapons and techniques, you will a part of mind-blowing demon hunts. Suffice to say, Devil May Cry 5 is an amazing game that should be played by fans of the series.

Free solitaire games to while away the hours!!

Free solitaire games to while away the hours!!

The recent and very sad news that Yaphet Kotto has died aged 81 has got me re-watching the classic Bond movie Live and Let Die. Remember him as Mr Big/Dr Kananga? Watching this movie as a child terrified me – the crocodiles, the sharks, the henchman with the metal claw and the voodoo… Whilst I’m still not sure about Roger Moore as Bond, Jane Seymour as a Bond girl is a different matter. Her ‘Solitaire’ had mystery, skill and a way with cards that was truly magical. And this got me thinking about card games, the skill and luck behind them, and their modern (and free) equivalent online. So if you want to become more like Jane Seymour’s Solitaire and play the cards, which of the many free online Solitaire games are the best?


Let’s start with solitairebliss.com. It’s a pretty small site, with the option of three solitaire games – Klondike, Spider Solitaire and Freecell. There are a number of variations, the sort you’ll see on pretty much every solitaire site, and it’s ok. That’s it, it’s…ok. Maybe a bit more Johnny English than James Bond. Actually, forget that. It’s a bit more Austin Powers than either of those two. The graphics are basic, the layout is basic, the games are basic. I’ll put my cards on the table and say it is a throwback to a bygone era. But there is room for all types in this world, and who am I to judge. There is no music that I can find. The card design is huge and a bit clumsy. What I find the strangest is that for the for entry level gaming design, the instructions that come with the game are actually quite complicated and thorough. This site is a strange one. Maybe it’s your kind of thing, but I’m pretty sure no self-respecting James Bond would be seen at that card table…


At the other end of the spectrum there is the Solitaire.co.uk website….and getting straight to the point it is as colourful and fun as one of Dr Kananga’s suits. I counted 22 versions of the game, from golf solitaire (Scottish or golfing versions), solitaire 0-21, lightning version (you play against the computer) and 4 of a kind. The occasional 30 second ads feel a bit much when you’re playing a quiet game, that half a minute can seem like eternity. The background playlist can also be pretty ‘interesting’ – the music for Spanish castle solitaire has more of a Dolly Parton, country and western vibe to it. But as free online solitaire sites go, this one is pretty good and you might even learn a new variant. So much better than the solitaire installed as standard on your old basic PC!

Where it all started

To break things up a bit, and to cross my cultural legends, I want to refer back to the most famous solitaire game of all – the Microsoft classic. The original free game. Long before apps… A bit like Minesweeper, the famous Nokia Snake or Blackberry Brick Breaker, it’s one of those games that is legendary. It was introduced by Microsoft back in the mists of time (the 90’s anyway) as a means of teaching people how to use a mouse. For people of a certain age, it became a key element in avoiding homework or pretending to be productive and industrious at work when no one could see your screen! I still have an old PC from the early 2000’s that works and solitaire is there – it still plays as well as ever but I will leave that version unreviewed here as there aren’t many Windows 95 PC’s available on the market these days!! It’s place in the World Video Game Hall of Fame is all that needs to be said…

Coolmath Games Solitaire

The last site up for review is the Coolmath Games versions of Solitaire. As you’d expect with this site’s wide range of easy to play games, it’s pretty basic. There are five variants – the strangely named ‘Tingly’ Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, Magic SolitairePeg Solitaire and FreeCell (also ‘Tingly’ for some reason!). But it’s not as basic as some others, the solitaire tableau sits on an old wooden table, the music doesn’t get on your nerves and is easy to mute. They also have some educational pages that explain to how to play and offer tips. The thing with Cool Math Games is that you know what you’re getting. There’s no chat room function alongside the screen and the crude language and name calling that often comes with that. It’s simple to play and has a few options to customize the games your way. But you could hardly call it cutting edge. To continue the Secret Agent theme, I would say it was more Austin Powers than James Bond but there’s room in this world for all sorts…

The Verdict

So which site do you choose to play solitaire and reveal your cards? Solitaire.co.uk would be my choice. It’s the Rolls Royce of solitaire sites, or should I say The Aston Martin.

Death Stranding Review – An Action-Adventure Walking Simulator

Death Stranding is not like any other game out there”. This statement holds true even a full year later after its initial release on the PS4. Death Stranding has been developed by the legendary video game producer, Hideo Kojima. Who, after his public breakout with Konami in 2015. Went on to find his own game development studio, now known as The Kojima Productions. Now, Kojima is known for his unique game designs and more so, eccentric creative decisions. He is someone who is not afraid to try out something new, and Death Stranding just that. In this Death Stranding review, we’ll be taking a closer look at all the intricate details in this game.


Let’s start this Death Stranding review by talking about the intricate gameplay mechanics. For starters, Death Stranding is in essence a walking simulator. Where the player has to walk long stretches of vast planes to complete missions. The game is not for everyone, but for a Kojima fan, it is a gold mine of Kojima style Easter Eggs. And more so, Kojima manner of game design that we previously got to see in the old Metal Gear Titles. It is a game that does not shy away from making the players work, and work hard at that. Death Stranding is heavy on text and is designed in such a way that every single detail matters. The game forces the player to pay attention. To the point that if you overlook some details and take on a mission unprepared. It will make you pay in the most excruciatingly painful manner possible. Aside from its painful game design. Death Stranding has somewhat simple yet fun mechanics that allow the player to construct different objects, like ladders, and such from seemingly nothing. And take hold of weapons and even babies for protection throughout its 100+ hour-long gameplay. Overall, Death Stranding provides a weird, yet satisfying gameplay. That is although not for everyone. But for Metal Gear fans, it is a treat that provides an experience that is unlike any other game on the market

Characters & Story:

Death Stranding follows the story of a freelance courier Sam Porter who works for an organization named Bridges. As one of the few reliable delivery Porters at its disposal, it is Sam’s duty to deliver packages to desolate places across a barren America. While he is on his long journey to deliver his packages. Sam comes across other Bridge members like Deadman, Heartman and even more so, the eccentric Mama. And also befriends other characters like the young Fragile while getting in a healthy rivalry with a guy named Cliff. Just as this section of my Death Stranding review suggests, the story of this game is quite odd, but also quite interesting.


Death Stranding is without a doubt a visual masterpiece that has some of the best graphics in gaming. The game looks stunning. And to add each and every single detail; even the never-ending barren planes seem to have been meticulously designed to look as detailed as possible. Death Stranding is definitely one of the best looking games if its generation. Where its characters not only look, but also feel alive in the true Kojima fashion.


In case my Death Stranding review has not made it clear for you yet, I should just straight-up tell you that this game is a timeless classic that every gamer needs to try out. Some of you might get a little bored while playing this game because of all the walking, but you should still give it a go.

Tekken 7 Review – The Epitome of Fighting Games

Tekken 7, a game that at least 5 out of 20 people would be able to recognize if you brought it up in a conversation. With its very first predecessor being released back in 1994, with over 6 million copies sold as of September 2020, and with all the worldwide tournaments being held, it’s surprising to find someone who doesn’t know it? Along with Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, it has dominated the arcade gaming scene for over 2 decades. With the release of Tekken 7, it has made people realize once again why it has remained successful. Without further ado, I will now start my Tekken 7 Review.

Gameplay:tekken 7 review gameplay

Talking about the gameplay is an integral part of this Tekken 7 Review; therefore, I shall touch on this aspect first. Enormous changes have been made since the advent of Tekken 6. With new characters such as Lucky Chloe, Shaheen, Lars Alexanderson, Claudio etc. new game mechanics such as rage art, power crush and screw hits, and an extremely engaging story, it clears up just how much the new installment has to offer! The game has been so wonderfully created that even with the new changes, the feel of playing Tekken still remains. There is still an arcade mode, the button combinations of some characters still remain the same, and no new change is felt in the overall style of the game. Just like in the previous versions, with each button press, you can feel the impact. With each combo you perform, you can observe the brutality with your own eyes. However, most things can be only close to perfection, not actually reach it. This game is no exception. Even though the gameplay mechanics are designed to maximize the fun, it can get very repetitive if you keep on playing it for a while. Moreover, at first, you had to play to unlock characters, now you have to pay for them. This in my opinion, is a huge turn off for many people as well. Though, seeing how rest of the game is well-balanced, these flaws can easily be overlooked.

Story:tekken 7 review story

Although the gameplay might not fit everyone’s taste, most people would certainly agree that the story is a masterpiece. To explain this elegant plot in this simple post would be a disservice. however, I’ll try to summarize it. The story is mainly based around the Mishima family, especially focused on the rivalry between Heihachi and his company, Mishima Zaibatsu, and his son, Kazuya Mishima and his company, G Corporation. Though, the hatred between the father and son isn’t due to the different companies, instead, it follows from Kazuya’s early childhood. The story is told from a 3rd person narrative as a reporter tries to unravel the true tale.

Visuals:tekken 7 review visuals

Being the 7th instalment of the series, I think it’s pretty obvious that visuals have improved drastically, considering it’s a relatively new game. The details in the backgrounds are breathtaking and the characters almost look real. Furthermore, the movements of the characters also feel smooth and natural. Therefore, there’s nothing wrong in this aspect of the game.


Considering its commercial success, we can easily realize just how good Tekken 7 is. I highly recommend anyone to check this game out and find out if it’s good by themselves. With this, I complete my Tekken 7 Review.

Dota 2 Review – AN EPIC MOBA

Dota 2 is definitely one of the biggest MMORPG classics out there. The game has inspired entire generations of gamers after WoW. Despite nearing a decade since its official release by Valve, it is still going strong as one of the most popular multiplayer of all time. In this Dota 2 Review, we go over some of the stuff that makes it unique. So, without any further wait, let’s just get into it.

Game Design:

Dota 2, for those who don’t know, is actually a really old game. It is soo old that the game design of Dota 2 has existed for far longer than the actual game. 10 years before valve decided to legitimize the franchise, Dota already existed as a great concept. Developers like Eul expanded upon and made Dota into a full-on game that was massively popular all around the world. Later on, this concept was taken by Valve and developers from the original WoW like IceFrog, actually built upon that concept to make the game a whole, complete MMORPG experience. Dota 2 emerged as a fantastic MMORPG game, that had a lot of the game mechanics from the original Dota. But, innovation does not stop there. Over the years, the developers at Valve have added more heroes, more game mechanics, and a ton of new features that have made Dota 2 evolve into polished MOBA that provides a very much diversified playing experience when compared to other games in the same category.

Dota and LoL:

Dota and LoL have the same origins, but even so, they are very different games. There are 120 characters in Dota 2 and 150 total characters in LoL. LoL may seem more diverse with the added character options, but that is not the case here. The main thing that makes DOTA soo different from LoL and other MOBAs are not just the heroes, but also the Meta map that the game is set in. In Dota 2, all the map mechanics are quite complicated and in that, if just a tree or an object would be placed differently, it would drastically affect the strategies the teams would employ and has the potential to alter the outcome of the match in more than one ways. But LoL is not as map dependent as Dota 2 is and just follows very simple lane mechanics. There are a lot of technicalities in Dota 2 that makes it much harder for new players to get started with. And to clarify further in this Dota 2 review, the sheer amount of information that the player has to get familiar with right from the start of the games makes it one of the most difficult Moba to get into when compared to LoL or any other MOBA like Arena of Valor, Vainglory and others out there.


Graphics-wise, Dota 2 has aged incredibly well over the years. The grimy looking map has become even more luscious and actually look quite a bit well drawn out. Moreover, the Heroes in Dota 2, also look elegant and quite a bit detailed, to say the least. And Valve has also gone out of its way to improve and make the special abilities of the characters stand out even more, with stunning animations and better looking special effects.

Final Thoughts:

Dota 2 is without a doubt one of the best MMORPGs of all time. The game has aged incredibly well over the years as mentioned in the Dota 2 review before. But despite its prestige, it is a much harder game for any new MOBA fan to just start playing out on a lazy Sunday. Dota 2 requires a lot of attention to detail even when compared to LoL at that. It is a game that, once a player gets into it, it is very hard to put it down. That is why when a new player should think very carefully before playing this game. Check out our review of Smite as well, if you are a big fan of MOBA games.


Hitman 3, is the last addition into IO Interactive’s “World of Assassination” series. The game got released as a direct continuation of the previous two games and uniquely cements itself as the most fleshed out, technically robust game in the trilogy. Now, Hitman 3 does not deviate all that much from the previous 2 games. But it has some elements that make it quite a bit unique. So, let’s dive into the game in this Hitman 3 Review and see what this new addition to the Hitman Franchise has in store for us.

Game Design:

In terms of Game Design, as mentioned before, Hitman 3 is not that much different from Hitman 1, and Hitman 2; the previous 2 games in the “Assassination World” trilogy. But, there are some differences that we will get into in a little bit, later but for now, let’s focus on the basics. So, Hitman 3 is not a big game. It is a rather short game, with 5 huge levels and then some, where the player is allowed to accomplish certain objectives. And, of course, in the classic Hitman style, the players are awarded on the basis of their performance in each level and which objectives they complete at the end of each mission. The experience gained through each mission would allow the player to then level up, get access to more abilities. Now, this is where the similarities end. IO Interactive have actually added doors, and certain shortcuts throughout each mission in Hitman 3, that the players can open and actually take advantage of in their next run.  So, with this detail, you can easily deduce that Hitman 3 is actually a game designed for replayability rather than focusing on the story. So, it is a bit hard to get into. However, Hitman 3 also has a pretty robust story, that we will get more into, in the next section of this Hitman 3 Review.

Story & Characters:

As mentioned at the start of the article, Hitman 3 starts off from where we left off agent 47 in the last game. I will try to keep this section of my review as spoiler-free as possible. The developers have actually strung out each cut scene together with the gameplay, so they do not feel invasive as they did in the previous games. And we even have a lot more, great moments between Agent 47 and Diana here in this final game. So, if you loved their relationship in the previous 2 games, you are in for a surprise and quite a bit of shock in Hitman 3.


Visuals are something that this Hitman 3 review can never be complete without. The visuals of Hitman are as crisp as ever in this latest game, and they truly showcase the real capability of the next-gen hardware. The lighting in the game has been greatly improved by using raytracing technology, and the shadows have also been reworked.


Overall, Hitman 3 is an incredible game, that although is not groundbreaking. But as a Puzzle stealth game, it has a ton of replayability and a lot more substance to each level than we saw in the previous 2 games. Still, the game feels a lot like its predecessors and does not make that many changes to its gameplay. There are some modifications here and there that make it a fantastic game for even someone who has never played a Hitman game in their entire life.

Free word search games – worth the money?

You’re stuck at home. You’ve been through Netflix. You’ve watched every box set there is. But your brain needs something more, something to keep you sane during these dark Covid days. Tried doing a word search or other online word game? Well you’re not alone! Searches for word games and mind puzzles have rocketed over the past year. So here at Gnews we’ve decided to take a look at what free word search games are out there and give them a review for you. We’re so kind… As part of what might turn out to be a series, we thought we’d start our review of free word games with word searches. Word searches, remember them?  Now, many of you might remember word games from school, or maybe seen them in the papers but word searches online are a whole different thing. Gone are the days of just having a word search on a page. Now there are so many sites with word searches as part of their puzzle selections you can afford to be choosy. Pick a site where you can customize your word search by difficulty, subject, or racing against the clock. But which site to pick? Ah, the reviews The first site we’ll look at is coolmathgames.com. Now many of you might know this site already and let’s be honest, it’s pretty iconic. Known originally as a free site for flash games, it’s now HTML5 happy so don’t worry about Adobe any longer supporting Flash. But never mind that, lets get back to the word searches… WORD SEARCH DIFFICULTY As you’d expect from Coolmathgames, their word searches are pretty good. There are four difficulty levels (easy, medium, hard and maniac mode) and 21 themes for your puzzle – from crowd pleasers like pizza toppings and baseball teams to the more unusual Hindi and French language words. Wordsearch pets You can customize the game further using the Beat the Clock button, which counts down from one minute. To make things even harder you can hide the words you are supposed to be looking for. This is a bit harder if you’re looking for French words and your language skills aren’t quite ‘ooh la la’ if you know what I mean… Downsides? Well, unless you mute the puzzle, the annoying doorbell style ringing will drive you mad. Select a game *bing*, find a word *plink*, you get the idea. The colours and the graphics are a bit basic but the game isn’t impacted too much by that. In fact like much of the site, its basic style is what makes it fun to use and, lets be honest, iconic. What else is good? If you’re after a more intense word search experience, then you should definitely try thewordsearch.com. The clue’s in the name. This isn’t just for wasting 5 minutes, this is a site dedicated to intense and single minded word search obsessives. There are 25 categories, with each category having up to 209 subjects within them. So if you have other obsessive hobbies – maybe pop music – you can double the fun because chances are your favorites are there. Taylor Swift anyone? The settings are pretty good. You can customize the puzzle to having only lower case letters, or change the game font. This might be handy if this is more than a hobby. Maybe you’re playing to improve your dyslexia? Well there’s an open dyslexic font to make things clearer. Changing the font color might also help stop those letters swimming past your eyes. It sounds perfect… True, it sounds perfect. But this site just isn’t for me. There are too many choices – too many subjects, options, fonts, colors. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’ll never be a fully fledged member of the word search gaming community. Go on, what else is out there? Our last comparison is 247wordsearch.con. Ok, it’s another basic site but at least – unlike thewordsearch.com – it at least has some instructions.  We all know the rules but it’s nice to be talked to – we’re not word search robots y’know. Anyway, there appears to be really only one generic game with difficulty options. There’s the all important mute button and to be honest not much else. There are a few subject themes based around times of the year – I’m just guessing but this has to be the one of the only Cinco de Mayo game word searches out there… Feeling the love? So it’s basic, it does what it says and there are some limited subjects. But the main issue with this site is – if you’re filling out a Valentine’s Day word search, you need to maybe re-think your life a little. But… …I’m a traditionalist at heart and word searches are a traditional game. I just like the basic games with a few tweaks, not TOO many options, but just enough to give you a bit of a choice. Word searches have a purpose and that is to fill up a few quiet minutes while you’re waiting. Maybe you’re waiting for an appointment, or picking up your kids from soccer practice, or trying to make your brain de-stress. Too much choice takes away from the whole point of them, it turns the puzzle into something more intense and serious. Don’t be that person, enjoy the game for what it is and don’t take things too seriously. The winner…? For that reason Gnews is going with these word searches from Coolmathgames. It’s a classic, and I can’t help it, that site is my favourite way to lose minutes of my life. There’s not much else to due during Covid now is there…

Keeping your brain active in a Covid-19 world

Keeping your brain active in a Covid-19 world

The Covid-19 outbreak has seen an unprecedented rise in online activity. From shopping to having to socialise virtually, people across the world have been working within the quarantine restrictions of their own country but also keeping themselves active by engaging more through their computers, tablets and smartphones.

Keeping fit in lockdown

Online physical training has received a lot of publicity in the media thanks to celebrity workouts from the likes of Lucy Wyndham-Read, Joe Wicks and Chloe Ting. However, the rise of brain exercises and mental stimulation games online has grown rapidly almost unnoticed by mainstream media.

Simon Grey, the University of Hull Lecturer in Computer Science, specialising in games, graphics and physical simulation, has some interesting observations. “There is … evidence that more people are turning to games during COVID-19 lockdown. That could be a way of socialising with friends and family, or simply to pass time while we are spending more time indoors.”

There are a wide range of online brain training and mind games. One of the more interesting developments has been the rise of the humble word searches. From their beginnings in newspapers and puzzle magazines they have now become widely available online.

Word Search Games

Setting wordsearch difficulty levels adds to the challenge

Once seen as a simple learning tool, online puzzles like word searches enable the player to personalize the game to suit their mood, interests or the difficulty level. The level of personalization that this genre of games offers is a crucial part of its recent success. Tapping into people’s desire for tailored products that suit their way of life and their hobbies adds to their appeal.

With large numbers of adults across the world under a physical quarantine, some with exercise restrictions and curfews, many without gardens or access to healthy open spaces, it is natural that they seek mind challenges to maintain their mental health.

In fact, it goes further than this. An upbeat mood and sense of control over your life are key ingredients in self-confidence and quality of life, particularly when physical exercise is restricted. During the pandemic, people all over the world are facing mental stresses and pressure due to lack of socialisation, financial worries and concerns about whether they will have a job to return to when the Covid-19 restrictions lift.

Nobody, not religious leaders, politicians or wise elderly relatives, knows what life will be like in a post Covid-19 world.  That makes it more important than ever before to maintain strong mental health and keep your brain functions active. Simple but challenging puzzles like word searches can help in keeping positive, confident and resilient through this difficult time.

Word search benefits

A typical wordsearch game from coolmathgames.com

This need to challenge yourself mentally through a tool like word searches is most apparent in children and young people. Mental Health Foundation Scotland’s “Impacts of lockdown on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people” covers this. The report, published in September 2020, makes a key point. “Lockdown related school closures have been one of the most significant public health measures across the world. For children and young people…this has been the first extended closure of schools in recent history and as such, its impact on their mental health and wellbeing is important to consider”.

The interesting element of the growth in word searches since early 2020 is how it reflects the puzzle’s basic brilliance. People of all ages, all education levels and from a variety of cultures and languages can all play the game. No matter their background, they all have an equal chance of success. This is a perfect tool for those Home Schooling. They can improve their child’s vocabulary and perceptive skills without any barriers from their own educational background. Using a word search as a Home Leaning tool and brain exercise is not in the same exhausting league for a parent as tutoring a child in algebra or Shakespeare!

Restricted in how much internet access you have, or have more members of your family than devices? No problem! Online word searches like the one mentioned above, have a print function so you can turn your 21st century puzzle back into an old school paper challenge as it was originally intended.

Word search history

The first word search was devised and printed in the US by Norman E Gibat. It was published in the Selenby Digest in Norman, Oklahoma in 1968. The actual origins of the puzzle are disputed. The Spanish puzzle creator Pedro Ocon de Oro was publishing ‘Sopas de Letras’ (Letter Soup) before that date. However, it is not clear how or whether this influenced Mr Gibat. The Oklahoma puzzle proved so popular with local teachers that it became a regular learning tool in classrooms. Before long, the puzzles were being sent around the country to help fellow schools educate their pupils.

The days of posting word search puzzles across the US have long gone. The modern equivalent of posting puzzles online, has taken things to the next level. And the science seems to show that moving word searches and other learning games – such as Unolingo, Word Detector and Words Family – online actually improves information retention amongst young people in particular. Research shows that on average, students retain 25-60% more material when learning online, compared to classroom learning. Online learning is faster and more tailored to the individual student’s pace. Online learning is more attractive for young people. It’s not surprising then that using online methods for learning creates more interest in the tasks and material being learned.

Students of all ages love wordsearch games

According to BYJU’s Mrinal Mohit, “Over a period, we have observed that clever integration of games has demonstrated higher engagement and increased motivation towards learning, especially among younger students, making them truly fall in love with learning”.

If we’re trying to find anything positive to come from this terrible pandemic, perhaps this is one place we could start.