Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Posted by Jon Westfall in "SOFTWARE" @ 08:00 AM
SuDoku, Kakuro, What's The Difference?
From the pocket sized books now familiar in U.S. grocery stores to the tomes of puzzles you can find at your local bookstore, SuDoku has become hugely popular in the last two years both here and around the world. I'll go into its history a bit in a moment, but first, what is it? Well, simply put, it's a puzzle game which is easily solved by eliminating possible candidates for each square until you are down to the only remaining candidate. While most commonly played with numbers one through nine, SuDoku could just as easily be played with any other set, such as colors or letters. Mastersoft's implementation of SuDoku lets you explore these other sets through skins, which can increase the difficulty (by taking you from what you're familiar with) and the fun. Mastersoft even includes a picture SuDoku option, effectively doubling its built-in levels of difficulty. As for those of you who fear you may develop a severe addiction and run out of games, Mastersoft assures us that there are more games in their products than are playable in a lifetime. It's a comforting thought to me when I go on a SuDoku or Kakuro binge.
Kakuro is the new guy on the street in the Puzzle world. A cousin of SuDoku, they have similar rules. However, Kakuro has a twist - the values in any given column and row must add up to a value provided in the margin. Whereas SuDoku doesn't normally require you to guess except in the hardest of games, guessing is common in Kakuro, as you sharpen your skills as a Kakuro Master! Again, Mastersoft's game play here is similar to SuDoku, allowing the user to customize the game board colors and style to his or her choosing, including skin support.
All of the features do come with a price, and both games are quite large on the install size. Mastersoft officially recommends placing them in Main Memory, however I put both on my SD and Mini-SD cards without a problem. They each take up about 4 MB once installed, which, while smaller than other games I enjoy (Such as Spb Air Islands), is still a bit of a chunk. Due to its size, it also takes a fair amount of time to completely load (approximately 10 - 20 seconds), however the wait is worth it!
Since I believe many people don't try these games as they look a bit intimidating, I've put two sample games into the review, one Simple SuDoku and a simple Kakuro, to walk you through how they play. After that, we'll discuss Mastersoft's implementation, and the pros and cons of their offerings.