(3DS eShop)

Akari by Nikoli (3DS eShop)

Game Review

Akari by Nikoli Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Spark in the dark

Hamster is now at the halfway point of chopping up upcoming retail release Sudoku + 7 other Complex Puzzles by Nikoli and selling each puzzle type individually through the eShop. With Sudoku and Kakuro out of the way, the far more interesting chunks have started to hit as evidenced by last month's Slitherlink and now Akari.

Breaking out of the realm of pen-and-paper puzzles, Akari asks players to strategically place lights to illuminate every empty square on the board while following a few simple rules: black squares act as barriers that stop light in its tracks; numbered squares tell how many individual lights must be placed directly next to it; and lights can't be illuminated by other lights — much like how in Sudoku two of the same number cannot go on the same line. As long as these rules are obeyed, lights can be placed anywhere.

Akari is probably the easiest Nikoli puzzle type so far for the visually minded, and its use of light as a mechanic makes it a far better fit for the medium than the prior titles' paper puzzles. While Nikoli's hand-made puzzles have so far always steered players in logical directions toward finding solutions, the guided hand is far more evident in Akari, and watching puzzles unfold can be a delight so long as you are able to keep up.

And just like all the other ones so far, Akari includes a local multiplayer "race" for its 50 puzzles ranging from Easy to Hard that unlock as you go, although the difficulty curve ramps up in a considerably more even fashion to allow a greater feeling of progress, or to perhaps allow progress. A hint system would be welcome for the absolute stumpers, but at this point we don't expect to see one in any of these eShop releases.


Akari by Nikoli shines the brightest of Hamster's eShop puzzlers so far. However faint that praise may seem, watching these 50 puzzles unfold can be an illuminating experience once you wrap your mind around how they work.

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User Comments (8)



alLabouTandroiD said:

I played Nikoli's Pencil Puzzle a lot. Really liked Shikaku, Hashi and Akari. Not a fan of Sudoku so i only played a few before giving up on 'em.
Since it got a sequel in the UK i tried its different puzzles a few days ago. And what can i say, the only ones that really appealed to me were Akari and Slitherlink.
I'm not paying 20€ for just these two so if they came to Europe as download games they'd be hard to resist. Even though 5€ wouldn't really be a sweet price for games that drab.



BulbasaurusRex said:

Hmm, this actually sounds interesting, and I am a visual learner. I'll put it on my Wishlist to pick up someday.



Marioman64 said:

funny how the hamster nikoli games are getting ratings based on the puzzle enjoyability. this is a proven fact because hamster used the exact same structure, GUI, music, everything in each one so far. let's review shall we?
Akari: 7, Slitherlink: 5, Sudoku: 4, Kakuro: 4 (scores from this site btw)
I know for a fact that akari and slitherlink got higher scores because they are the only puzzles of their kind on the handheld market and sudoku and kakuro are getting compared to other games
but hey what are you gonna do, people are influenced by what's already out there and when a game doesn't rise to the current-bar-standard it's considered bad when it may not be, but oh well

regardless of my defending and ranting, hamster did the crappiest job with the GUI and usability in this. it NEEDS, no, THEY ALL NEED the zoom function desperately. the magnifying glass on the top right is too zommed in

the puzzles are still fantastic though, it's just the GUI and delivery that sucks



grumblegrumble said:

Basically, these are the individual games off of the Nikoli Pencil Puzzle 3DS release, right? Why not just buy the whole game instead of individual bits and pieces?



Marioman64 said:

@grumblegrumble no, slitherlink and kakuro were not parts of that release, and from what I hear Hamster is still making 4 more of these.

the only one's on nikoli's pencil puzzle (which has a FAR more fantastic GUI and usability) are too many Sudoku puzzles, some Akari puzzles, some Hashi/Hashiwakakero puzzles, and some Shikaku puzzles

also there's APPARENTLY some hidden 5th puzzle, but I think you have to beat ALL the other puzzles to unlock it and trust me, when I figure out what it is I will be spamming it all over the farthest corners of the internet for the non-believers



grumblegrumble said:

@Marioman64 Thanks for clearing that up. Still, I think I'm puzzled out. I have more Sudoku games on my 3DS than I can count on one hand, and too many other fun puzzle games to play to worry about this one. Good review, though

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