Solitaire & Sudoku Deluxe

When you get to my age – and I'm now old enough to consider most of the candidates on The Apprentice comparatively my junior – Christmas loses its sparkle.

No longer are you surprised by the gifts you receive on the big day. Instead, your presents resemble a budget branch of HMV - DVD after DVD wrapped up in the same old paper - with any semblance of wonder or excitement nothing but a ghost of Christmases past.

Solitaire and Sudoku Deluxe is by no means the gaming equivalent of such Christmas Day blues, but it comes with the same feeling that it isn't all it might be.

Puzzles without passion

Here's a package that promises a lot and has all the right fixtures and fittings (two expansive takes on both solitaire and sudoku in tow) but much of the initial elation is replaced with an undeniable feeling that it could be a touch better.

It's in this respect that Digital Chocolate could claim to be a victim of its own success.

Solitaire & Sudoku Deluxe most certainly comes with the kind of sheen and visual professionalism the publisher has made its signature, but its content has enough niggles to leave a few slight, but nonetheless indelible, marks on what should otherwise be a highly buffed finish.

Coming with 16 different versions of solitaire – Klondike, Mahjong, and Freecell all on board – the game certainly doesn't hold back from representing the game in every flavour available.

Also on offer are nifty set challenges that break down some of the variants into more palatable, but nonetheless tricky, mini-games – although the explanations that accompany them could perhaps do with a little more honing to make them truly beneficial.

Doubtfully deluxe

It is Sudoku, however, that lets the side down a touch, albeit in a seemingly small way.

While the game comes with four levels of difficulty and – perhaps sensibly – doesn't attempt to mess with the formula, there's no way to enter any possible options in each grid square.

Instead, the game allows nothing but final answers, and while it alerts you to any possible conflicts, it's a far from ideal set up for those who like to complete sudoku games without a blemish. It also makes tackling some of the games tougher levels vastly more frustrating than they need to be.

Other than that, there's an undeniable feeling that we've been here before. Connect2Media's Solitaire Deluxe: 16 Pack, for instance, is an almost identical package, albeit minus sudoku.

As such, Solitaire & Sudoku Deluxe plainly seems the better package in comparison, and it's especially unlikely any fans of either puzzle will be disappointed by the game's take on their particular passion.

By the same token, however, it's arguable Digital Chocolate could have taken a moment or two extra to add a little bit of magic to what is already an efficient puzzle package.

Solitaire & Sudoku Deluxe

As solid a package as we've come to expect from Digital Chocolate, Solitaire & Sudoku Deluxe is no slouch when it comes to packing in the puzzles
Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.