Kakuro by Nikoli Review - Screenshot 1 of 3

There's certainly no shortage of number puzzles lurking around the dark, damp corners of the eShop. Sudoku is a prime culprit, and we wouldn't be at all surprised if there was a degree of puzzle overlap between them all, however mathematically unlikely that may be.

Kakuro, on the other hand, is much less of a bruised dead horse — with only one other eShop presence, one might say it's not even been thwacked yet. With a similar approach to numerical diversity as sudoku and the presentation of a crossword puzzle, each "word" is a number that you must add up to using the numbers 1-9. For example, if you have three boxes to add up to 12, you can't spam the boxes with 4-4-4. Instead, you'll have to use a combination that doesn't include duplicates in the sequence, like 2-4-6. As in sudoku, you can't use numbers that are already in use on intersecting lines, and it all has to add up everywhere and oh god the math.

Kakuro by Nikoli Review - Screenshot 2 of 3

Much like Sudoku by Nikoli, Kakuro by Nikoli includes 50 puzzles that unlock as you go, as well as a local multiplayer race-type mode and a random puzzle selector, not generator.

This being a different type of puzzle than sudoku, HAMSTER has included a few niceties to make your kakuro playing a touch easier. One handy shortcut allows you to tap the "question" number — i.e. the one that you have to add up to — to see which numbers actually add up to make the answer, listed in numerical order rather than sequential so as not to solve the puzzle for you. A menu tucked in the pause menu also lists all possible combinations for certain numbers to help you feel less overwhelmed when anything over 10 appears on the grid.

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And that's about it, really. The "check" option is still rather useless as it doesn't actually let you know whether something is wrong, leading to a lot of messed-up backtracking that can just about kill any momentum you had if something goes horribly wrong late in the puzzle. You can save your puzzle progress but only for one at a time. It's about as vanilla a puzzle experience as can be, and 50 puzzles for $4.99 doesn't seem like that much of a bargain.


Kakuro by Nikoli is straightforward almost to a fault, and value-neutral novelties like local multiplayer make it difficult to justify its asking price. Considering there is only one other kakuro title on the eShop — the rather excellent and more diverse Telegraph Sudoku & Kakuro — Kakuro by Nikoli is by default a decent next step for more of this type of puzzle. However, if this is your first kakuro rodeo then you're better off grabbing Telegraph's less expensive and more expansive offering.