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Sudoku Vol 1

Does this stripped down mobile version of the latest paper puzzle game really add up?

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

You know, you should take pleasure in the simple things in life; the smell of fresh-cut grass, the smile of a beautiful woman (on a poster or otherwise), a joke shared with friends, or a game of Sensible Soccer on the train. Simplicity can be bliss. However, as the spartan Sudoku Easy Vol. 1 proves, simplest isn't always best.

For those not familiar with it, Sudoku is a Japanese puzzle based around a 9x9 grid that requires the player to place numbers in such a way that every column, row and 3x3 box within the grid includes the numbers 1 to 9. If that sounds either fiendishly complicated or a little on the dull side to you, then you probably haven't yet turned to the back page of one of the national newspapers to give it a try. Once you do, chances are that you'll join the growing masses that are utterly addicted to this puzzle phenomenon.

The concept of bringing the game to mobile is an inspired one. Rather than having to cart around a pile of bulky newspapers and a pocket full of pens, you can fit hundreds of games comfortably in your denims to enjoy whenever and wherever you want. What's more, it'll be easy to change answers without messy scrubbing out and there'll probably be loads of new features and variations to make the challenge even more fun, right?

Erm, no.

At least not in the case of Teazel's version of the game, which adds absolutely no extra thrills or visual enhancements to the basic premise, offering what can only be described as a 'functional' interpretation of the paper game. Granted, the control system works well enough, enabling you to enter numbers as firm 'penned' selections or smaller, temporary 'pencilled in' thoughts. There's also a check option which lets you know if your selections are right so far and, if you get really stuck over a particular square, you can even cheat. Although in the version we played this option was redundant as the distinctly unchallenging grids were unlikely to stretch even a complete Sudoku newbie (for the record we finished all the grids comfortably within an hour-long tube journey!)

Combine this over-simplicity with the fact that there's only a meagre 10 grids to play and, quite frankly, you'd be better off going out and buying 10 copies of the Sun. With 2 games per paper you'd get twice as much gaming value for considerably less than the £4.50 it cost us to download this, plus some interesting updates on sport, current affairs and a quick study of female anatomy. Whilst there's no denying that the game delivers what it says on the box (i.e. Easy Sudoku) and promised future versions will undoubtedly provide an escalated challenge, it doesn't take a maths genius to see that 10 games per volume just doesn't add up. Throw in some lacklustre presentation and those expecting a mobile version to enhance their Sudoku experience will be left puzzled.

4 / 10

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