On mobile platforms, board and card games are popular under two conditions: they play well and they’re easier to use than the actual card or board game. Sudoku matches both of those criteria excellently thanks to some top-notch game design and the simple KISS rule (Keep it Simple, Stupid).
Developed and published by EA Mobile, Sudoku is a puzzle game where players must match the numbers 1-9 properly by rows, columns, and 3×3 squares. The rules are simple: no identical numbers can be in the same row, column or square, though finding the proper placement is often much more difficult. Within the last five years, Sudoku has become one of the most popular puzzles in the US and many other countries, and is prominently featured in many newspapers.
EA Mobile understands all of this, and has incorporated every type of play style for Sudoku fans with their app. Sudoku on the iPhone is capable of not only creating new games at five difficulty settings, but has the option to allow players to make their own games. Play your paper’s daily Sudoku? Why bother wasting time writing it in and saving the paper until tomorrow when you can input the same numbers on your iPhone and just as easily keep it with you. Then again, if you make any mistakes, the game will either point them out or state that you didn’t solve the puzzle correctly, depending on your preference.
What Sudoku for the iPhone does is eliminate the need to ever play this most popular puzzle on a piece of paper ever again. It makes Sudoku ten times better and more enjoyable than playing on paper. With the ability to write in numerous options in the same square, have the game give hints and even solve whole boards (for the impatient, of course), it’s the perfect Sudoku app. Hell, you can even listen to your own music while playing.
But it isn’t exactly perfect. The one problem is getting hints, which can ruin the whole game if you accidentally do it. And all that it takes is shaking your iPhone, and suddenly every possible number appears on the screen. There’s currently no option to shut it off, and I’ve more than once had to restart a game because there’s just no point in finishing a puzzle when the answer is too easy to find.
Besides this little blemish, Sudoku by EA Mobile is one of the best iPhone board games available, bar none. It’s simple, intuitive, as difficult as you want, and capable of both making its own or taking user-created boards. What more could a Sudoku enthusiast want? Absolutely nothing.