It’s not often that a game actually teaches you something you never thought you’d be able to do. That moment when the penny drops and you slap your forehead and grin is one that has to be cherished and revisited time and time again. I had this moment when given the chance to try and review POWGI’s latest offering Word Sudoku. I say try and review because (and don’t tell anyone this – ever) I’ve never known how to play sudoku. Oh yes, I’ve been aware of the game. I might even have tried my hand at it at some time. But those memories are hazy and difficult to recall. One thing I do remember though is that I found the game perplexing, frustrating and, dare I say it, mind numbingly boring. In fact, I think I’ve had more fun watching old people eat. So when the opportunity arose to ‘try’ my hand at Word Sudoku I saw it as something of a challenge that would either open my eyes to the joys of playing sudoku, or it would confirm my earlier beliefs that playing the game is as much fun as shaving your eyebrows with a blow torch.
Well, after just over a week with Word Sudoku on the PS4, I’ve got to admit, I’m hooked. I’ve always known that the brain systems for maths and languages are quite different. Different parts of the brain do different things. And, depending on how your brain’s wired, you’re going to find playing with words either harder or easier than numbers. As a writer, I’m definitely a words kinda guy. Seriously, when writing a review, I remember looking for the right word for two weeks. It was ‘fortnight.’ (Groan….Ed). You get the picture. I prefer words to numbers. So that’s probably why soduko has always left me cold. It seems that POWGI’s novel approach of using words to represent numbers in Word Sudoku made all the difference. After just ten minutes with the game, I realised I got it. I got sudoku. My brain had been re-wired and I knew what it all meant. And it was fun playing soduko. Who woulda thunk it?
At first glance Word Sudoku is far from visually impressive. It’s clean yet Spartan presentation offers little in the way of bells and whistles. You have 240 puzzles ranging from the dead easy to the fiendishly difficult. The game offers newbies (like me) a couple of helping hands in the form of pencil place holders and a highlighting option. With the pencil marks, you simply press triangle, and guess what could be the right letter to use in a certain box. The resulting letter is smaller than the rest. As you continue to play the game, the pencil mark either vanishes (because it’s wrong) or stays (because it’s right). The highlighting option allows you to place your cursor over a line that’s solved, click on a letter and all instances of that letter will appear with a box around them. Excellent. There’s also the ultimate helping hand which is done by trying a solution and pressing L1 and R1 so the computer can tell you if you’ve done something wrong or not. If you have, you can click ‘fix’ and the mistake will be deleted from your game. I must admit, I relied quite heavily on this option while getting to grips with the game. But after a few minutes, I found I no longer needed it. As I said before, my brain had been re-wired and I was born again smart.
Despite the genius novelty of Word Sudoku, POWGI also allows players to tackle the same puzzles using numbers instead of words. A great option which, essentially, means you get twice the number of games for the same price.
Audio wise, Word Sudoku offers little in the way of choice. There’s a chirpy tune that plays in the background, but no choice to change it. I’m sure there’s a way of turning it down, but I couldn’t find it during my play through.
In a nutshell Word Sudoku does what it claims to do on the tin. It offers you the chance to play soduko with words as well as numbers. There’s no leaderboard, no multi-player, no chance to check your score on previous games. Heck, you can’t even change the background. Word Sudoku is a no frills, no icing on the cake soduko game. If you love solving puzzles on your Switch, you’re going to love this game. If, like me, you’ve always found soduko inaccessible and mysterious, Word Sudoku might just change your mind and re-wire it. Go play.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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