Review by Nigel Wood
4 years ago, in Britain, if someone had said “Sudoku” to you you’d be forgiven for thinking they had just sneezed… Now, however, you can’t pick up a magazine or newspaper without seeing the number based puzzler somewhere amongst it’s pages.
It’s popularity has risen so much in fact that it has even entered the computer games business. First on Mac’s and PC’s, then onto handhelds (such as the critically acclaimed bonus Sudoku mode in Brain Training on the Nintendo DS) and more recently on mobile phones and now the iPhone.
There are currently 22 Sudoku games on the App store, ranging from free to £2.99 ($4.99). In this review we are focusing on Freeverse’s ‘Big Bang Sudoku’ (available here).
I have to say, I’m not crazy about Sudoku. Just the thought of any game featuring numbers makes my toes curl. However, my wife loves it, and it was her that acted as my lab rat for this review.
On booting up the game it’s nice to see that freeverse hasn’t scrimped on presentation like some of the versions available. The graphics are bright and colourful, with clear and intuitive menus. All wrapped in an animated space background (echoing the Big Bang subtitle). For beginners there’s also the Sun God, a character who pops up with hints and tips and the odd random comment. You can turn him off if he begins to annoy!
So how does it play. Well the challenge of any Sudoku game is in the way it controls, and this can make or break it. Thankfully Big Bang Sudoku features a very intuitive way of entering the numbers into the grid. Unlike most touch based Sudoku games which require actual text input (Brain Training for NDS). Big Bang Sudoku features the numbers listed below the grid which you select with your finger, then tap on the grid where you would like it to appear. A toggle is available which switches between note mode (making a note of a number you think should appear in a certain square) and final entry mode (for setting a number which you think is correct). Its actually pretty quick to use, a lot less fiddly than the character recognition number entry of other games. My wife was up and running in no time at all, and as a successful website designer she is quick to dismiss any interface/user experience that doesn’t deliver. So that’s saying something!
Big Band Sudoku features over 10,000 puzzles ranging from easy to diabolical. Enough to quench even the most devoted of Sudoku players me thinks!
Presentation & Graphics: 7
Good looking art style, easy on the eyes and navigate the menus. The Sun God is a nice touch.
Nice use of sound effects which, though not really needed, fit into the whole magical/space theme.
Well if you like Sudoku then you’ll enjoy playing Big Bang. The game controls well through intuitive use of the touch screen. Cheat options, player stats and timed play add value.
Game life: 9
10,000 puzzles is a lot. There is however, no variation on the basic game of Sudoku
Game rating: 8
Based on my wife’s recommendation and having played with and read reviews of other Sudoku games, Big Bang Sudoku is up there with the best of them. I recommend any serious Sudoku nut, or even a new comer to the puzzler, to give freeverse’s version a go.
You can see a demo of the game running here