Review: Sudoku by Nikoli (3DS eShop)

SuDDDoku

Given the volume of the genre found in the eShop, we expect a lot from new digital sudoku games. If someone is going to go ahead and plunk down some cash, a game really needs to bring the thunder compared to the free versions found online and on other devices, or even one of those end-all puzzle books down at the five and dime.

Sudoku by Nikoli has the honour of having the most D's in its genre, but visual pleasantry will only take it so far. With a mere 50 puzzles and lacking a few niceties that we feel should come standard by now, Sudoku by Nikoli doesn't do much to persuade your time and money away from you.

Ten puzzles of varying difficulty are open from the start and the rest unlock as you play – not bad for the novices who might want to check out the helpful explanation of how to play and ramp up the difficulty as you go, but number munchers eager to dive into the hardcore puzzles will have to swing through a portion of relative softballs first. The confusingly titled Random Puzzle Generator sounds like it would shatter the 50 puzzle limit with computer-generated ones, but it actually just acts as a "random" selector for puzzles already unlocked. Which, you know, fine, whatever.

And, well, that’s it for features really. Sudoku by Nikoli doesn’t do much beyond straight-up puzzling. It’s so basic, in fact, that helpful features like pencilling in a number are absent, which makes guessing or experimentation more difficult than necessary. Something is amiss when your application is out-featured by a piece of paper.

The only thing that makes Sudoku by Nikoli stand out is its competitive multiplayer mode that pits you and a friend in a sudoku speed match, which is novel, we suppose, but hardly a compelling bullet point in practice.

Conclusion

We have a hard time imagining just who the target audience is for Sudoku by Nikoli, or why anyone should choose it over competing titles lurking in the DSiWare section of the eShop. Perhaps if you’ve exhausted every single sudoku puzzle available on the platform then the extra 50 will come in handy then Nikoli will look attractive, but everyone else will do just fine without it.