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Carol Vorderman's Sudoku PSP

Published by Xplosiv
Developed by Atomic Plant Entertainment
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £19.99

Carol Vorderman’s Sudoku, an introduction

There’s just no getting away from Sudoku is there? Those little Sudoku puzzle books are everywhere, newspapers now have them along with crossword puzzles, the Internet has many places where you can obtain the puzzles for nothing and even ‘Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training – How old is your brain?’ on the DS manages to include it.  It’s no surprise then that Carol Vorderman’s Sudoku isn’t the first Sudoku game to arrive on the PSP.

What’s the game about?

If you know all about Sudoku then head on down to the next paragraph whilst we have a little summary of what the game involves. The game is played on a 9x9 grid of squares that are separated into smaller 3x3 grids. In any horizontal or vertical line of nine squares and in every 3x3 grid the number 1 to 9 must exist. The trick is that you can’t have a number appear more than once in any horizontal or vertical line or 3x3 grid. The rules are simplicity itself but the puzzles can be extremely challenging depending on how many numbers you’re given to begin with.

What’s good about the game?

If you really want to play Sudoku on your PSP then this is as good a game as you could probably hope for and the range of options on offer here is pretty impressive. Single-player options are Classic, Arcade, Career and Challenge Carol. Classic allows you to attempt Easy, Medium, Difficult and Super-Difficult puzzles without any time limits. Arcade gives you a choice of Beat the Clock (time limited puzzles), Extra Time (time limited puzzles where you gain extra time for correct number placements), Perfection (time limited puzzles where you are penalised for making mistakes) and 3 Strikes (once again it’s time limited but you only have 3 lives and you’ll lose a life for each mistake you make). Career allows you to work your way through a variety of puzzles. You’ll begin with White Belt puzzles and work your way through Yellow Belt, Orange Belt, Green Belt, Blue Belt, Brown Belt and Black Belt puzzles at which point you’ll be a pretty impressive Sudoku player. Once you are a Black Belt puzzle solver you’ll be ready to play Challenge Carol. Here you’ll have 1st Dan, 2nd Dan, 3rd Dan and 4th Dan puzzles. In these puzzles you’ll have to beat the time set by Carol in order to progress to the next one.

Aside from those single-player options you also have three different kinds of multiplayer game, tutorial videos and a Sudoku Solver. The multiplayer options are Head to Head, Quick Fire and Time-Attack. Head to Head allows you to play against a friend using a wireless link with the winner being the first one to solve the puzzle. Quick Fire allows two players to compete using one PSP. Here you’ll take it in turns to insert numbers. The winner being the player who completes half of the puzzle correctly. Finally Time-Attack is played on one PSP and each player has a fixed amount of time to insert as many correct numbers as possible. Sudoku Solver allows you to insert details from a puzzle of your choice (such as from a newspaper or magazine) and have the program find the solution for you. In short then there’s pretty much everything that a Sudoku fan could ask for.

What’s bad about the game?

As a Sudoku game it’s difficult to complain too much about Carol Vorderman’s Sudoku. The main complaint I have is with Carol Vorderman being plastered over the thing. The game simply doesn’t need her and it’s a shame you can’t disable those irritating and slightly tacky pictures of her that kind of spoil the menus. Don’t get me wrong I’d have been just as irritated as if it had been some teenage bimbo plastered all over the game instead of the ubiquitous, middle-aged Vorderman as the game simply doesn’t need this kind of endorsement. It could also be argued that the game just looks too basic for a PSP title.   

How does it look?

As we’ve already mentioned the game looks rather basic. Of course there’s only so much you can do with a Sudoku game and it was probably always going to be difficult to make it test the power of the PSP but you can’t help feeling the game could have been presented in a more impressive fashion. In fact most of what’s here could have easily been accomplished on the lower resolution screen of the GBA because it’s that basic.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Whilst there are no problems for deaf gamers being able to pick up and play Carol Vorderman’s Sudoku, the game isn’t as deaf gamer friendly as it could have been. On loading we are ‘treated’ to a history of Sudoku by Carol that isn’t subtitled. The game’s tutorials and tips aren’t subtitled, which is actually a shame because there are some very useful tips for Sudoku beginners. Still if you’re already comfortable with the game then you won’t be too disappointed. Essentially then Carol’s contribution is pretty much limited to those awful pictures on game’s menu screens.

Final thoughts.

There can be no denying that Carol Vorderman’s Sudoku is an absolutely fine Sudoku game. The asking price of £19.99 certainly isn’t too bad either and if you look around online you’ll find the game for five pounds less making it even better value for money. Is it the best Sudoku game around at the moment? Well it’s certainly the most comprehensive although I prefer the more intuitive Sudoku that’s offered in Brain Training on the DS but that’s to do with the nature of the console more than the game itself. If you’re after a Sudoku game for your PSP this is certainly the way to go, as long as you can stomach Carol Vorderman being plastered all over it, that is.

Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

(Click the letter or here for details)

If you're looking for a Sudoku game for your PSP then this is definitely the game to go for. In regards to presentation the game could have been better though and it's a shame the tutorials and tips are not subtitled.