Review: Sensible Sudoku 2
Version Reviewed: 2
Ever since the Sudoku craze reached the UK a couple of years ago, you just seem to run into those nine numbers everywhere. Newspapers, magazines, dvd games, pc games, board games, console games. It's in our students' homework, grandma's crosswords and, of course, our mobile phones. Dozens of different versions appeared for both Symbian and Java - and the best of them is most certainly Sensible Sudoku.
According to conceptispuzzles.com, the origin of Sudoku (like) games goes back all the way to the 9th century. Different versions were played in China, Europe and Arabic countries. The way we know it today became very successful in Japan (Sudoku itself is a Japanese word meaning 'Single numbers'), which is why one might think it's a Japanese game.
The basic concept of Sudoku is simple: your task is to fill in a 9x9 square with numbers from 1 to 9, making sure that every number is used only once in every row, column and 3x3 box of the whole field. To get you started you are given some of the numbers of the final layout. In a correctly created puzzle you are not supposed to need any guesswork to finish and there should be only one correct solution.
Ludimate cleverly kept it clean and simple when they created their version of the game. You get randomly created (correct) puzzles in one of the 5 possible difficulty levels and, when you solved your puzzle, you just got a new one ready to drive you round the bend again. In this second version of Sensible Sudoku, you can also enter a unique number for your puzzle so you can keep a record of solving time for every board you finish. This comes in handy when you want to compete against other enthusiasts who have already posted their results at http://ludimate.com/products/sensiblesudoku/besttimes/index.php.
Your statistics will show you the last few codes, amongst other details, like your average times, best times and all time spent playing this game. There's also a helpful hint system at your disposal to ease the pain of the more challenging boards: you can turn this on/off, you can allow incorrect pen or pencil numbers, you can get a hint of the box where you should find your next number to put in, or you can be more specific with asking for the next cell or even the correct solution for that cell. Real rookies can ask for the whole board to be filled in with the pencil numbers still available for every empty cell, but that's something a real puzzler would use only as a last resort and only when no one is watching. Another great – and in my opinion essential feature, when it comes to mobile phone games – is the auto load/save of unfinished puzzles when starting/closing the game.
The thing that puts Sensible Sudoku above the rest of the competition, besides its simple and straightforward menu and game play, its intuitive number entry (my favourite bit is the one-button control – you can conveniently fill in the board using nothing but the joystick) and flawless implementation, is its looks and sounds. You have never seen a prettier game with nothing but numbers in it! The whole game just oozes inner peace and serenity [steady now, Attila - hey, can I have a glass of whatever you've been drinking? - Ed] with more than a dozen carefully picked colour schemes, flowing elements and elegantly sophisticated sound effects turning a brain teasing puzzler into an aesthetically enjoyable experience.
Sensible Sudoku 2 is a highly recommended game for any and every puzzle fan with a Symbian smartphone (or indeed a Windows smartphone or Pocket PC) and is perfect value for money with its endless number of puzzles and flawless design.
Attila, AAS, 11 May 2007
Below is the developer's own promo movie...