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Sudoku Gridmaster Package Art
GENRE
Puzzle
DEVELOPER
Hudson
PUBLISHER
Nintendo
LOCAL WIRELESS
MULTI-PLAY
No
Wi-Fi/GLOBAL ONLINE
MULTI-PLAY
No
MICROPHONE
No
BUY NOW AT

Sudoku Gridmaster

The number game Sudoku has become so popular that it's earned a cemented place next to the crosswords in the daily news. Nintendo recently hopped on the bandwagon by including it with Brain Age. Now they've taken their Touch Generation line one step further by devoting an entire title to the worldwide sensation. Sudoku Gridmaster hopes to take advantage of all those untold grandmas, who lined up at midnight for a DS Lite.

visuals

A game played with pen and paper doesn't exactly translate to graphical hoo-hah on a portable screen. The rotating, screensaver-esque question marks that float in the background serve as the pinnacle of pizzazz here. Those interested in a full-fledged game of Sudoku probably wonít care about any kind of visuals other than grids and numbers anyhow.

audio

Gridmaster's audio is pretty much irrelevant, as Sudoku doesn't rely on any sort of sound whatsoever to play. The available music tracks arenít entirely offensive, but they aren't Tetris either. Practicing Grid-apprentices would be advised to supply their own tunes.

gameplay

For those not familiar with Sudoku, here's a quick rundown: the game takes place on a nine by nine grid, separated into nine three by three squares. The goal of the game is to place the numbers one through nine in every row and column in the grid without repeating numbers in any column, row or three by three square. Preplaced numbers are in every square as both guides and obstacles to completing the puzzle. If it wasn't obvious already, things can get complicated pretty quickly. Fortunately, a tutorial is included for those needing help getting started.

Right after the power is turned on, Gridmaster gets down to business. Players are asked to choose a difficulty level and a puzzle number, and then it begins. Digits are placed by tapping the desired box and then touching the onscreen number pad. A stylus write-in option is available, but has terrible handwriting recognition. Players can also write notes in each box for later use. Additionally, after tapping an entered number twice, the game highlights all the same numbers around the grid, which helps straighten things out.

The result is a functional game of Sudoku, a bit more convenient than pen and paper, but a few head-scratching flaws all the same. In a dedicated Sudoku game, one expects different profiles for different players; however, this is not the case. Consequently, if someone were in the middle of a round and Grandma wanted a go, they would have to sacrifice all of their progress to start a new puzzle, because a one-time save is all that is allowed. A timed Rank Test is available, but a simple pause still shows the screen and stops the timer. Sudoku is all Gridmaster offers, so oversights like these make it hard to forgive the developers for screwing up the only thing they had to get right.

multiplayer

N/A

overall

Even with a budget price, Gridmaster falls short of delivering basic expectations that sudokuholics (and even novice players) have for an electronic game of numbered crosswords. Hudson seems to have tried to compensate with the sheer volume of puzzles, reaching past the three-hundred mark. Unfortunately, the fundamentals of a Sudoku game have already been done better, in Brain Age-- a game in which Sudoku is a purely auxiliary option. Prospective Sudoku fans should stick with Professor Ryuta Kawashima's floating head; granted, that should be a general rule to video gaming, if not life itself. However, for those players whose Brain Age puzzles are exhausted, Sudoku Gridmaster should serve as a decent alternative to those Sudoku books in the Borders bargain bins.

final score 6/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Tristan Cooper
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"Get out the umbrellas..."


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