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SuperDoku for Pocket PC

By: Kent Lanum
on September 21, 2006 6:32 pm

Every decade or so, there comes certain fashions, foods, oreven
dances (remember the Macarena!) that transcend international
boundaries and becomes popular just about everywhere on the planet.
I would put sudoku in that category. Just in case you’ve been
living under a rock, sudoku has done just that by becoming popular
with the crossword puzzle crowd to dominate every bookstore shelf,
grace the pages of many newspapers and periodicals and of course,
the thousands of fan web sites around the world devoted to the
game.

I do not plan on going into too much detail on sudoku itself as
you can read all about it on "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudoku">Wikipedia but let me give
you a little glimpse into its origins. The game was invented by a
man in Indianapolis, IN around 1979 for Dell magazines (no Michael
Dell was still in high school at that time!) and these magazines
were popular for crossword puzzles and other types of mind games
they offered readers. This number puzzle was called Number Place
and pretty much existed there until a Japanese publisher
rediscovered the format and published them in 1986. It was at that
time that the game took the new name of su-do-ku which is an
abbreviation for the Japanese phrase, “the digits must remain
single”. The rest is history as there are hundreds of sudoku
publications on the market today, even a UK TV program based on the
game so there’s no question as to its growing popularity.

The rules of the game are really quite simple and that is why it
so addicting! You start out with have 9 large boxes stacked 3 x 3
with 9 smaller boxes within those large boxes. Scattered throughout
the puzzle are the seemingly random placement of numbers upon which
you are to solve the puzzle;the higher the difficulty game level,
the fewer the numbers provided. From here, you are to use the
numbers 1 through 9 only once within those boxes and here is where
it gets difficult, you can only use them once in that row and
column too!

If you are still confused, take a look at the completed puzzle
below on the left and note that the darkened numbers to see what I
mean about the numbers being unique to that column, row and box.
Now if you are just cocky enough or just a glutton for punishment,
take it one step further and try solving a Sudoku puzzle where
instead of numbers you use images or other graphics in place of
numbers!

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Sample of completed SuperDoku Puzzle

Think you are good…try this one!!!

Now that we have talked about the basics of sudoku, let’s talk
about why we are here today: SuperDoku. If you do a search for
sudoku puzzles on the numerous PDA software sites, you will find
dozens and dozens in both payware and freeware offerings. Each one
is a little different offering various features like entering your
own puzzles (say from a magazine or newspaper), more random
puzzles, various graphic options and skins but they all honor the
basics of the game. Having played sudoku for the past year with one
of the more popular payware applications and having trialed many
others, I have to say that SuperDoku is really a first-rate sudoku
game application.

Overview of SuperDoku Features:

  • There are eight different difficulty levels where each level is
    randomly generated each time you start a new puzzle. There is no
    “beat the clock” component in SuperDoku like some of the other ones
    on the market.
  • There is a “graduated” difficulty factor where you have to
    complete the lower levels without any hints or you cannot move on
    to the next higher level. The developer can provide you a cheat
    code to get past this feature.
  • SuperDoku can help you solve entered-in puzzles from your books
    or magazines by using the “Burn Grid as New Game” tool.
  • Comes with an “Auto-Save” option as well as a “Load” and “Save”
    function allowing you to save up to 5 sudokus to be worked on
    later.
  • It permits “Pencil Marks” which you can use as reminders in
    squares where a combination of numbers may possibly be correct.
    Just so you know, “Ink Marks” are the larger semi-permanent numbers
    but are correctable…and that’s my final answer Regis!
  • SuperDoku offers “Crayon Marks.” You can draw notes right onto
    the screen in 4 different colors, and 3 different thicknesses. As
    the author states in his game description, this may be unique to
    his program and I’ve illustrated at least one use that I found for
    them down below in the screenshots.
  • There are two types of hints: spoiler and non-spoiler. The
    first one can show you the location of a square that can be
    narrowed down to one option, or it can fill in the square for you.
    NOTE: If you use hints, though, you won’t earn access to higher
    difficulty levels without the cheat code.
  • The typical “Reveal Mistakes” is also found in SuperDoku and it
    lets you know if you are on the right track by blinking incorrect
    squares. If any mistakes are revealed, you won’t earn access to
    higher difficulty levels.
  • “Bolding Selected” is a game feature that when you select a
    number to input, it will bold all those same numbers across the
    entire puzzle. This is REALLY handy for solving the puzzle a little
    faster and helps for those that don’t need the extra step of the
    crayon like I’ve demonstrated below.
  • As I mentioned early on in the review, another feature allows
    you to substitute numbers for graphical images. You can choose
    Letters, Hieroglyphics, Hebrew, Alchemy and Zodiac symbols as well
    as other color variations of the number set.

SuperDoku Screenshots

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Remember those days in college too??

Beginning puzzle at the “Easy” level

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There’s the “Pencil” mode for possible solutions,
which I probably use the most as I work on these puzzles

Using the “Crayon” mode to visualize solutions
or other notes to yourself for those inclined

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I fess up! I used the “Reveal Mistakes” function so I
am still stuck on Easy. Note to self…get the cheat code!

Installation

SuperDoku installation is relatively straight-forward with a zip
file containing both the readme and CAB installation file which
works on internal or external/card storage memory You need to have
the .NET Compact Framework from Microsoft installed for the program
to work. If you get an error message that your OS version is not
supported, missing files or a similar type of error; you are
probably lacking the .NET software installed on your PDA. Just go
to Microsoft’s website, look for it and install it. I would
reinstall SuperDoku to be on the safe side that all is good. The
zip file is only 200KB and the program expanded is just 325KB on
the PDA itself. It does have a footprint of 1.7MB in my PDA RAM/ROM
(depending upon your memory configuration) while in operation which
I think is a little high for the type of application but not being
the programming expert, I’ll leave that for others to decide.

Conclusions

While I’m not a sudoku aficionado, I have to say I found
SuperDoku offered all the basic features that one would find in all
the other sudoku titles as well as many other advanced features
with some unique tweaks that made this application a lot of fun. I
really like the “Bold” feature when you select a number as that
really helped in visualizing the solution possibilities and the
program not erasing my old pencil marks when I go back and change
an “Ink Mark”. I also found the leveling function of completing a
level without hints or showing errors to be a great challenge but I
can also see where this may become a limiting factor if you get
stuck; maybe an option versus a cheat code would be a good thing.
Lastly, I’d also like a time clock mode too where I could keep
track of the stats on how fast I can solve a particular puzzle
level. These aren’t killer issues and the game is great as is.

Mike
Miller’s website
shows that he is working on a version 2.0
which will address VGA, QVGA, Square Screen issues as well as other
features that will make SuperDoku even better. He is looking for
some beta testers so if you are so inclined, drop him a line
today.

Now if you are a sudoku junkie, you are probably asking
yourself, do I really need another sudoku program? Only you can
answer that one but I think you will find that SuperDoku is really
a great program with all the features and then some you didn’t know
you could do without. If you are new to sudoku, SuperDoku comes at
a great price…its FREE so download it today but remember your
college days and slip the guy a couple bucks too!!!

 

Product Information

Price:
Manufacturer:Mike Miller Software
Requirements:
  • PocketPC 2003 or later; .NET Compact Framework 1.0 installed for PC2002
  • 325KB of storage memory
  • 1.7MB of RAM/ROM for operating memory
  • Installable on either internal or card storage
Pros:
  • Full featured Sudoku program
  • Loved the "Bolding" of numbers function on the screen
  • Remembers your "Pencil" marks when erasing any subsequent "Ink" marks.
  • It is FREE...but donate a buck or two!
Cons:
  • A time clock or bypass level option would have been nice but not a killer

Comments

  1. 1
    Julie says:

    Post your comments on the SuperDoku for Pocket PC review.

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/superdoku_for_pocket_pc

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

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