Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Posted by Ed Hansberry in "SOFTWARE" @ 07:00 AM
Figure 1: A completed SuDoku board
The game has 81 squares and that 9X9 grid is broken down in to 9 smaller 3X3 grids. The object is to fill the board with the numbers 1-9, 9 times and never repeat a number in a column, row or within one of the 3X3 sub-grids.
The game has multiple levels. The harder levels give you less starting numbers which increases the amount of guesses you have to make before you can determine with certainty where some of the numbers go. Mastersoft has given you tools though to highlight your numbers in various colors or use very small memo numbers that allow you to put several possible numbers in a box. Of course, there is a clock ticking away while you work. You didn't think you had all of the time in the world did you? ;-) The longer it takes, the fewer points you get once you complete a puzzle.
Figure 2: Various difficulty levels and scoring
There are some aids available to you. You can have the game to a quick error check to see if you have violated a rule, like putting the same number in a column more than once, or even get a hint, which will tell you if you have an incorrect guess or give you the number for one of the boxes. Don't use these features too much though. Besides not being terribly sporting, they take away available points very rapidly. 8O
It also allows you to pause the game, but doing do hides the board. It wouldn't be fair to "pause" while you study the board would it? You can also undo your last move, turn sounds on and off and if you get bored with the style and colors, you can change those too. In fact, if you are really wanting a challenge, you can stop using numbers altogether and use symbols, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: One of the symbol styles available.
The game itself requires about 6MB of storage space. I have mine installed into the extra ROM storage of my PDA2K. It should also work fine form a storage card. It requires the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework, which is standard on all Pocket PC 2003 and higher devices. Mastersoft has links for the framework if your 2002 device doesn't have it.
I have really only scratched the surface of what features are available. It is really a comprehensive implementation of the original paper based game, enhanced just enough by the computer to make it thoroughly enjoyable. If this type of puzzle interests you I highly recommend you try this game. Consider this fair warning though. This is one of those games where you say "Oh, just one more board" and before you know it, you have whittled away a good part of an hour! There is a trial available and you can buy the full version for $14.95 on their site.