Buku Sudoku appears to be a popular brain teaser at the moment, and as an exercise in logical thinking rather than mathematics, it certainly has widespread appeal dispite its appearance. Expectedly, a game of the game has been made and allows, those people looking to test their brains via the Xbox Live Arcade, the option to now do so.
The rules are pretty simple as you are presented with a 9×9 (typically) sized grid with numbers in each space. each number is between one and nine yet the rows and columns of the grid can only have a sequence of one to nine, meaning no doubles. This rule also extends to the nine sets of 3×3 areas within the grid. The game begins with many of the spaces within the grid left blank with few numbers shown to help you start off. These starting numbers are set in stone, whereas any number you place down can be changed (unless it’s correct).
The basic idea for completing the grid is to work out what the blank numbers are related to those numbers that you’ve already found. You can either play a casual or timed game, where upon completion you are rewarded with points, which I assume is based on how fast you are and how few mistakes you made. The game uses a simple, yet rather unresponsive control system which allows for various sets ups like one handed, left or right handed play. Using the default settings the left stick moves a cursor over the squares you want to change, and the right stick allows you to easily select which of the nine numbers you are going to place in the square. The X button allows you to place pencil markers and the Y redo selected numbers. It’s all very easy to understand with no prior experience of using a controller necessary, in case your folks decide they want to have a go as well.
The game features some 1200 puzzles to keep you entertaining as with the aforementioned timed and casual modes to play, as well as local and online multiplayer, there’s enough here for Sudoku fans.
The game is a very basic set of squares with numbers in them. It’s a theme that doesn’t need to have any distractions in the background, and so with this in mind you’ll have a nice full screen on the squares and some additional non intrusive touches along the sides. There are a few themes to choose from here, but as the game remains the same and the principle regardless of the board, then it’s matter of personal taste what (out of the very few) that you go for.
The game has a very laid back soundtrack overall as you would expect from a game that requires you to think deeply. There’s a varied selection of mild tracks to inspire you during play although. luckily if you want to have no additional input, then of course you can toggle the sound on or off in the menu. Every other sound in the game is merely functional sound effects that don’t really add much to the overall experience.
With 1200 different puzzles, several board layouts to choose from, and three levels of difficulty, there’s should be enough here for fans to be suitably challenged for quite some time. The game is a timeless puzzle which can be enjoyed at any time and by anyone. The added bonus of the game offering head to head battles with local or online friends, alongside the inclusion of leaderboards to compare your online friends scores is all very welcome and adds a more competitive edge to the basic game. Sadly if you are looking for random players to challenge over the Live network, you might be a little disappointed, as there are not scores of would be opponents.
Buku Sodoku is an accessible game that can be played by the anyone. There’s no real bells and whistles added to the package, as the game does what is required of it and not much more. I’ve enjoyed taxing my brain in different ways, and if I was to become a fan of the puzzle itself then I would most certainly spend plenty of time playing this version as opposed to scribbling on bits of news paper. There is a counter argument where you could probably pick up a Sodoku puzzle book from many places cheaper than buying the game off the marketplace. However using this method at least means you are doing your part for conservation of resources using the digital medium as opposed to buying forest destroying paper.
Ultimately, this is a game for fans or for anyone looking for a different sort of puzzle game from the Xbox Live Arcade. It has proved popular due to its easy pick and play approach, and is as valid as any game to appear on the marketplace.