Ultimate Sudoku
| Ultimate Sudoku

Exploding into the pop culture mainstream in 2005, sudoku has enjoyed more newspaper coverage than the Royal family, sold millions of books and even had its own TV series. It's also the subject of more than a handful of mobile games. So surely the last thing we need is another one?

On the other hand, perhaps Ultimate Sudoku will live up to its name.

Unless you've been living on roaming on Mars for the last two years, you'll already be familiar with the rules of sudoku. The puzzle features a 9x9 grid that must be filled with the numbers 1 to 9 without repeating a number in each row, column or 3x3 box. Each grid starts with a selection of digits already in place, giving you a starting point to build upon.

Ultimate Sudoku features over 25,000 unique puzzles, ranging in difficulty from easy to fiendish. When starting a new game, you simply choose how demanding a puzzle you want and your phone picks one of the preset grids in that difficulty band. What separates a hard puzzle from an easier one is simply the number of squares that are already filled in at the start of play.

In keeping with its real-world counterpart, Ultimate Sudoku features a pen icon which you move to each square in the grid. Filling in each number is achieved by pressing the appropriate button on the keypad. Whenever you're not certain of your numerical decision, there's also a pencil option enabling you to place up to four possible answers in each square.

Each pencilled number takes up a quarter of the square, and these can quickly become distracting, cluttering up the otherwise clean interface. Thankfully, you can remove the off-putting pencil marks with the '0' key (although there's no mention of this in the help text), just as you can also clear the entire grid if you feel you've gone horribly wrong.

Ultimate Sudoku fails to bring anything new to the table, then, unless you count the occasional appearance of a sinister, boggle-eyed robot who informs you when you've solved a puzzle. The game features no sound, and everything is presented in an unspectacular manner, with functionality taking favour over form.

The trouble is, we've seen this all before, and we've seen it done better. Other titles have added to the sudoku experience with time challenges or unlockable rewards, for instance. The only real extra feature here is the option to cheat, by automatically filling in a square with the right number.

If this had been coupled with a solver mode – as seen in Gameloft's Platinum Sudoku – then it would have been a welcome addition. As it is, the cheat function merely defeats the object of playing a puzzle game in the first place.

At best, Ultimate Sudoku is an accurate recreation of the popular logic puzzles on your mobile phone. At worst, it's an unremarkable title that adds nothing new to the puzzle experience and fails to stand out from the crowd.

Ultimate Sudoku

Accurately recreates the sudoku experience on mobile phone, but the lack of features makes for an ultimately disappointing affair
Wayne Turton
Wayne Turton
Wayne's childhood ambition was to become a superhero. However, having been told that running round in tights is improper adult behaviour he now spends his days playing video games and watching cartoons instead. Millions of citizens sleep more soundly in the knowledge that he isn't watching over them.