25,000 Sudoku 

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With almost every newspaper having Sudoku games for you to do why have a PC program devoted to them? Well you could say the same for Crosswords or perhaps even Bridge. If you enjoy Sudoku then the 25,000 games here should allow you to be in ecstasy.

Initially designed long before the touchscreen was thought of I decided to test it on one such device along with a Vista system and even a basic XP system. It ran correctly on all three systems, certainly a game for all systems.

It can – should you wish - be run directly from the supplied CD, however the install takes only a couple of minutes and just under 300MB of hard disc space and that allows you to put the CD-ROM safely away in its DVD case.

Once you have entered your name you can choose which puzzle from which book you want to try. With the Easy level there are ten books each with 833 puzzles. The same with the Medium and Hard levels. In case you feel you have been short changed as this only adds up to 24999 book two of the easy level has 834 puzzles.

You have the choice of playing full screen in which case the resolution is reduced (correctly) and you get a slightly larger image, however should you ever be playing at work then I suggest you play using the windowed version as you can instantly flip back to the spreadsheet or word processor should your boss walk in.

When you have selected your book and puzzle you have the 9x9 Sudoku grid showing on the screen with some numbers already filled in coloured red. You are then able to fill in any squares within the grid that are obvious as to their contents with Pen and these appear in grey.

The method of filling in is to highlight the square within the grid and then go to the numbers displayed along the bottom of the grid and click on the number (1-9) that is your choice. Should you not be able to be positive about the contents of a square you can fill it in with Pencil. Unlike pen when the grey number fills the square the pencil answer is written in small and you can (necessary with more difficult puzzles) put several pencil numbers in each square. Just remember to click on pencil not pen before filing your number in the square.

The options that run down the right side of the puzzle are Pen, Pencil, Erase, Hint, Cheat, Help, Print, Check Answers and Back. At the foot of this section is a clock so you can tell how long you have been working on that puzzle.

While cheating may often be possible you have to answer ‘are you sure’ before it fills in the number for that square. Check Answers will work at any time although being told ten right and two wrong does not really help a great deal. Check Answers is automatically highlighted when you have filled in all the vacant squares and if correct you see a Well Done message.

Printing out any puzzle is possible but of course then you are just doing what comes in a newspaper and not having the extra features. If you are used to doing a newspaper one then you have probably developed your own methods and adapting to the computer way may take a little while to adjust to, however the computer never makes mistakes.

You can play with multiple users and the computer keeps track of completed and even part completed puzzles.

As the back of the DVD case says ‘warning highly addictive’ but then I am sure we all knew that already. The product also comes with 50 Kakuro puzzles this is the game where you have several number between 1-9 to make the number given on that line, far tricker than Sudoku.

Part of the Budget range, should be available from dealers or direct from Avanquest on the link below £4.99. 

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Overall25,000 Sudoku rated 80 out of 100

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