Sudoku Master Pocket PC Review
Overall, Sudoku Master proved to be a numerological puzzle game boon to Pocket PC game aficionados.Intuitive cross-hatching and bizarre skins make this title a standout Sudoku download.
You'll find the Sudoku Master trial download off the main PPC Sudoku page.
Sudoku Master Display
This Pocket PC Sudoku incarnation is easy on the eyes, with smoothly shaped numbers that stand in stark relief to the 9x9 grid.
Number and grid visuals looked clear and sharp on the tests I performed on my HP iPaq 4150 and Dell Axim x51v.
The visual disparity between VGA capable Pocket PC devices like the Axim x50 and the hx4700 and their non-VGA packing counterparts is more evident with other unique skins.
Options include skins to swap numbers for fruit, coloured balloons, billiard balls and others.
Aside from slightly more vivid Sudoku Master details when using other skins, there is little difference in aesthetics for VGA devices.
The main Classic Numbers view look virtually indistinct in both sets of tests. Regardless, the visuals are above par.
While the aesthetics are still excellent, don't be deluded into downloading this title to show up your non-VGA neighbours.
The beauty of Sudoku Master lies in its wealth of customization options.
Almost all aspects of the 9x9 grid's pallettes can be altered, down to the colours of provided numbers, selected numbers and the Sudoku grid background itself.
A strange bug surfaced in the main Sudoku Master with regards to a 'Define Colour' feature that slightly marred this ability.
The 'Define' button, seemingly to allow for definition of custom colours on VGA devices, failed to function and appeared greyed-out.
The button failed to appear at all on my VGA challenged iPaq 4150, leading to my assumption.
Developers RealDice wisely chose not to tout this feature in their product description.
Sudoku Master Cross-Hatching
If you sometimes get tired of scanning rows and columns for repeat digits, you'll appreciate the ease of use employed by this PPC title.
Cross-hatching or scanning rows to rule out duplicate numbers is pretty straightforward.
By clicking on the cross-hatch button, I was able to make scanning for numbers a bit easier.
Following this with a 2 from the 3x3 number selector grid that appears will result in a series of thin lines drawn across the rows and columns of the entire grid, leaving tiles exposed that allow for a 2 as a possibility.
At that point, it's a matter of using their pencil-mark scheme to jot down the possibilities.
Pencil marking or jotting down the possible numbers that can be entered into each tile is simplistic and effective.
Clicking on the 'Pencil Mark' button enables pencil mark mode, where clicking on certain spots within each square produces a number.
Clicking again on the number removes it from the grid.
The pencil-mark locations for the numbers corresponds exactly to the number layout on any phone, making for an intuitive system.
My only gripes are that changing the skin from the Classic Numbers or Classic Letters layout to any other skin disables the cross-hatching and pencil-mark features.
One standout benefit Sudoku Master provides, however, is that performing Undos removes the numbers from the board without disturbing the pencil-marks underneath.
Stats for each board difficulty played are kept under separate tabs with an 'All' tab for cumulative numbers for all boards.
Metrics like Time Elapsed Total and Time Elapsed Average, allong with average and total number of Undos for each board measure your progress.
One sorely missed feature is the ability to create separate profiles for the data.
If you're in the habit of sharing your handheld with family members, there's no option to store your statistical data separately from other users.
This is unlike other Pocket PC puzzle game titles like Bejeweled 2 which takes it for granted that you'll be passing your PDA to friends and family.
If you're looking for that elusive Sudoku title that showcases your Pocket PC's VGA capabilities, this may not be that title.
This changes, of course, if you'll make a habit out of playing with other available skins.
The colours are more vivid and you'll see less jaggies and smoother edges in the higher-res 640x480.
For non-VGA display toting Pocket PC game aficionados, you'll see very little difference in Classic Numbers or Classic Letters modes, even at a lower display resolution.
Somewhat disappointingly, the pencil-mark and cross-hatching modes are disabled when using non-traditional skins instead of numbers.
However, ingeniously simple pencil-mark and cross-hatching modes, along with more customization features than almost any other Sudoku incarnation makes this an addictive and worthy download.
PDAGameGuide Rating: 4.5 out of 5
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