Overall Score 71%
Su Doku Live
It is hard to believe there are people in the world who do not yet know what Sudoku is - just in case, here's a brief explanation. Sudoku is a logic puzzle, in which you fill a grid of 9x9 squares with the digits 1-9. Each row and column must contain each digit only once. The grid is subdivided into nine 3x3 squares, and each of these must also contain every digit only once. You are given some numbers to start with and must deduce the others by logic.
Sudoku has become something of a craze. Newspapers hold daily puzzles, newsagents stock sudoku puzzle books and there are international contests. So it is no surprise that there are computer programs to create them and solve them. Su Doku Live does both these things and more - allowing you to hook up with other people online and play with or against them.
Graphically everything is clearly laid out and functional. You can mark entries in ink or pencil (and rub out either) as well as make notes in each square. There are some odd glitches in the menus and the selected implement (pen, pencil, eraser, note maker) is not always obvious but overall Su Doku Live gets the job done. There is very little sound to comment on!
You can randomly generate puzzles at five difficulty levels, and these are timed to see how quickly you solve them (you can pause the game and the timer, but the board is then hidden). Options exist for hints, automatic notation and even completely solving the puzzle - so you could enter one from a newspaper and have Su Doku Live solve it for you. Indeed, you can "drag and drop" some sudoku file formats onto the game window!
One downside to Su Doku Live is that it can only create and solve one kind of grid. While newer puzzles such as "Killer" might be rather too different to include, what about including bigger grids such as the 12x12 and 16x16 ones that some puzzlers enjoy? You can also find sudoku makers online for free - so what about Su Doku Live's main feature, the online competition?
There are two ways to play Su Doku Live online; you can play a competitive or cooperative game. My brief forays online only revealed the former type but you can host your own game if you can't find anything you want. I must report that, as I prefer to relax over sudoku puzzles rather than race to finish them, I did rather poorly in my first game - but won my second!
Overall I enjoyed Su Doku Live - it provides all the features you could need, including online play. A few minor glitches and being limited to standard 9x9 puzzles could be fixed relatively easily, and I hope Su Doku Live attracts enough players to keep a strong online presence going.
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