| Platinum Sudoku
We've got a bone to pick with The Times newspaper. Not only does its voluminous Sunday edition suck up hours of our weekends, it was largely responsible for the sudoku craze that swept the country when it became the first British daily to present the number puzzles alongside its crossword.
We shudder to think how much time we've whiled away reading colour supplements and playing sudoku since. And now Gameloft is coming dangerously close to being added to our list of companies to receive strongly worded letters.
The reason why can be found in the publisher's latest raft of puzzle games (including the somewhat less cerebral Paris Hilton's Diamond Quest), within which can be found Platinum Sudoku.
Now, you might think that mobile game based on filling numbers into a square grid measuring 9x9 spaces, and further sub-divided into nine 3x3 squares, might be rather limited. Granted, those of you of a mathematical bent will no doubt find the prospect exciting, but we were far from feverish at the prospect.
Gameloft's pulled out all the stops for this, however, and it's clear from the start that so much attention has been lavished on Platinum Sudoku that it can't fail to entertain any pocket gamer who's looking for an entertaining puzzle game.
While changes to the core gameplay of sudoku number just one – a Sudoku X mode requires that you not replicate any digit in the two diagonals as well as in the horizontal and vertical axis – it's the presentation and thought that impress.
Like Lumines, you win new backgrounds when you complete a game successfully, and the drive to unlock all 13 (you start with seven) is just part of the attraction of returning.
The main draw is the sudoku puzzles themselves. With 640,000 grids available in four difficulties ranging from Easy to Professional, there's plenty of head-scratching action on offer. With the ability to pencil in numbers you're not sure about, as well as to 'buy' hints on the easier levels, you don't need to be a hardcore 'doku head to enjoy it.
We cracked Easy at our first attempt, for example, but kept coming back to it in order beat our best time and get a 100 per cent accuracy score – a rating based on how many mistakes you make in the process of solving a grid.
The range of fonts and grid styles on offer also keeps things fresh, though you'll soon settle on the font that's the easiest on your eyes: it won't take long for you to become hooked, leading to you staring intently at your handset's screen for hours on end.
In a successful effort to further extend Platinum Sudoku's appeal there are two additional game modes that enable you to expand play to the daily newspapers. A solver mode provides you with a blank grid that you can set up like the one you've seen in the morning paper (along with your clumsy efforts at completing it), and have the game fill in the rest of the blanks for you.
The Challenge mode offers a similar service except that it won't solve it for you, meaning you can continue a puzzle on your phone that you started in the paper or elsewhere.
It's not hard to see that Platinum Sudoku is the sudoku game to trump all others on mobile phone. No other that we've seen manages to be as inviting to novices yet satisfyingly challenging to sudoku veterans.
Right, to that letter...