Sudoku is a surprisingly old game that dates back to 1895. It seems like a fairly new game, but this is because it didn’t take off until comparatively recently. It just exploded a few years ago and appeared to come from nowhere.
Before computers became cheap and easy to use, and could be programmed to create puzzles for people to solve, Sudoku puzzles were just to laborious and tedious to make. Now you can run a program and it will generate endless Sudoku puzzles with no effort at all.
There are lots of computer versions of this puzzle game to choose from and there are several in the Windows Store. On test are a couple of the most popular ones, Microsoft Sudoku and Random Salad Games Sudoku – Pro. Both of them are free apps and I ran them on a Windows 10 laptop.
If you have never played before (can there be anyone left in the world), you are presented with a 9 x 9 grid that is divided into 3 x 3 blocks. Each row, column and block must contain the numbers 1 to 9 without repetition.
It is a tricky puzzle that exercises your mind and helps you to improve your concentration, logic and thinking. It is a game that can be learnt in a minute, but can take an hour to solve.
This app is surprisingly big and at 197MB you have to wonder what on earth all that code is for. After all, Sudoku is a very simple and straightforward game to program. Most desktop PCs have lots of disk space, but if you don't then Sudoku – Pro is one tenth the size.
The app looks attractively designed and it offers five difficulty levels – Very Easy, Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert. No matter how good or bad you are, there is a challenging game. The usual features are there, such as a pencil for when you are not sure what number to put in a box.
There are some useful extras features, such as Block Duplicates (you can’t place the same number twice), Show Incorrect (you are told if a number you place is wrong), Show Guides (show the numbers that can be placed in a square), and Hint (show a clue). All these options can be used to make the game easier when you are stuck.
There is a variation of the game that uses symbols instead of numbers. It adds a bit of interest and it is part of the daily challenges, for which you earn gold coins for completing puzzles or parts of puzzles.
Title: Microsoft Sudoku
Size: 197 MB
Verdict: A good and free version of Sudoku. Lots of features.
Sudoku – Pro
This is a simpler and more straightforward app than Microsoft’s version of the game. The home screen offers a choice of Easy, Medium, Hard, Hyper Sudoku and Expert. These five games provide five levels of difficulty and the only slight variation is Hyper Sudoku.
In the Hyper Sudoku variation there are four highlighted 3 x 3 blocks inside the puzzle (not the cirners or edges), that also have the numbers 1 to 9 without repetition. It makes it a bit easier to solve really hard puzzles because you can check the inner blocks for numbers in addition to the usual 3 x 3 blocks, columns and rows.
The graphics are good and the interface is fine. There is the usual undo and redo, and pencil for when you are not sure. Mind you, there isn’t a lot of features you can put into such a simple game. There is a selection of backgrounds to choose from and this enables you to change the look when you get bored with staring at the same thing every day.
Title: Sudoku – Pro
Developer: Random Salad Games LLC
Size: 19 MB
Verdict: Simple, straightforward and takes up little storage space.
I preferred Microsoft’s version of Sudoku and found it to be the better of the two apps because it has more variation. Sudoku – Pro is fine, but the only variation is difficulty, whereas Microsoft Sudoku has symbols instead of numbers and an irregular version – shapes, not squares of numbers.
Microsoft Sudoku has the best features, but is 10 times the size of Sudoku – Pro. Get Sudoku - Pro if you want to save storage space.