Im not a hugely capable person with technology but when I found out this could be downloaded onto my phone I thought it would be lots of hassle and too much work. I had a go anyway and followed the simple instructions and was amazed to see it actually worked!
The suduko craze took off a couple of years ago and I really got into it. I soon found the daily puzzles in the newspapers not enough to satisfy my soduko cravings and went through a few books. They were great but the downsides were that you could not make nots or possibilities or hints without making a mess and if you use pencil and a rubber the pages soon get destroyed.
When I got a new phone an advert showed me that I could download this Suduko application and it went from there. This was great because it had all the benefits of being electronic (that you get from the nintedo DS and PSP games) which I will go into in a second, but you did not have to carry an extra portable thing with you (E.G. DS or PSP or specific handheld game). It was with you wherever you took your phone, with no extra effort.
The benefits of having a electronic version of suduko is that you can make hints or notes without messing up the page and confusing yourself. You can also make mistakes and cross them out, without ever knowing they were there in the first place. This is a great way to play to suduko, its easy on the move and gives you a continual supply of puzzles where ever you go.
OK, I confess. I'm addicted to Sudoku. I know it's just a game but it's so damned compulsive. My wife and I fight for the daily paper to do the latest. My kids bought me a "Sudoku-a-day" pad to do at work but I ended up doing a year's worth before we had even reached May.
Of course, paper versions are all very well. If you make a mistake you can always rub it out and start again but then you have to use a pencil. Writing in the hints on the hard ones also tends to make a bit of a mess of the grid so, perhaps paper is not the ideal medium for this kind of puzzle.
If you have read one of my old reviews you will know that I bought my wife an electronic Sudoku as one of her presents last Christmas. It's Carol Vorderman's one; not entirely satisfactory but cheap enough as one fun present amongst many that we like to buy each other. There are various other ones of varying functionality and price.
However, if you are on the move and want to pass some time, a dedicated electronic Sudoku game is one more thing to carry about with you. Far better would be a software version that you can install on something you always carry around with you anyway, something such as a mobile phone, for instance.
You may have read my recent review of my new mobile phone, a Nokia 6288, bought with a Pay-as-you-go agreement with 3. If you did then you will know that the Nokia is not entirely satisfactory, especially where installing additional applications and games on it is concerned. The problem cannot be laid entirely at the feet of Nokia; 3 has a lot to answer for where this is concerned. Suffice to say that I have recently written to the CEO of 3 personally. I shall be interested to read his reply. I feel a Three (3) review coming on. Watch this space.
Whilst searching the Internet for applications and games I came across a great little website dedicated to Java applications for mobile phones and PDAs - www.getjar.com. If you're not familiar with the term Java other than it being an island in the Far East, in this context it refers to a computer programming language. JAR in this case is not a glass container for jam and honey but is in fact a Java ARchive, the format in which the application or game is distributed for installation on your phone. It was here I found 5ud0ku, a freeware Sudoku application, written in Java and available for a whole heap of different phones and PDAs.
5ud0ku comes in two files, a JAR file and a matching JAD (Java Application Descriptor) file. You should download both and try and install the game using both files if possible. Nokia has an Application Installer as a part of the Nokia PC Suite that you can download from the Nokia website, to do this for you. I expect other makers have their own tools. In some cases the game may not work after installation and this may be because you are using a "branded" phone (one customised by the service provider). If it doesn't then you can almost certainly install from the JAR file alone although some functions may not be available, and that may be sufficient to get it to work.
In my case I installed from the JAR file alone and 5ud0ku seems to work OK for me, even on a 3 branded version of the Nokia 6288. Nokia Application Installer, by default, installs all applications and games into the Collections folder in the phone's memory. I used the on-phone option to move it to the Games folder. You can even move it to a folder on the memory card if you wish. It will work just as well from there but only if the memory card is plugged in. If you regularly swap memory cards then it's probably best to leave it in the phone's memory. It only takes up 63.5KBs.
Now, I'm sure most of you are familiar with the game of Sudoku. It features a grid 9 squares by 9, divided up into 9 horizontal rows, 9 vertical columns and 9 zones of 3 by 3 squares. The object of the game is, starting with a few numbers already filled in, to fill in the rest of the grid with only the numbers 1 to 9, having in no row, column or zone more than one occurrence of any number. The more numbers initially filled in, the easier the puzzle.
This is not a mathematical puzzle, despite its use of numbers. The puzzle would work equally well with the letters A through I. It is a logic puzzle. The identification of which numbers go in which squares is a matter of observation and deduction. There is no magic formula.
On starting up the game you are presented with the familiar Sudoku grid and, at the bottom of the screen, three commands associated with the three selection keys on the phone: Options, Check and Pencil. What you will also notice is that the numbers are coloured and that the starting squares are grey. You will also notice that to the right of the bottom row there is another square with the numbers 2 and 3 in it. You will probably also notice that after a short period the backlight goes out and you can't see the puzzle any more!
Options allow you to do things like undo entries you've made or redo the game over, and also to start a new game. Here you can also set preferences. Preferences relate to game settings such as how hard the game should be (easy, normal or hard - you can even enter your own puzzle if you find one in a paper that you want to do but don't have a pencil to hand), how much help you want and here you can turn off things like the coloured digits or the flagging up of conflicting entries and so on.
One of the useful things you can do is to switch the backlight on permanently so as to avoid having to keep jiggling the cursor to bring it back on again. Mindful that the backlight is the biggest drainer of batteries, you have the option to set the level of backlight on a scale of 0 to 10. I have it set to 3 and that is perfectly adequate.
Pencil relates to the square to the right and bottom of the grid. Pencil is a toggle switch and toggles between Pen and Pencil. By default you start in Pen mode and that is indicated by the 2 and 3 in the square. In Pen mode, when you enter a value from the keyboard that value is entered into the current square. Clicking Pencil takes the keyboard entry into Pencil mode and this relates to what is one of the best features of the game, the Hint system.
As a puzzle progresses you start to eliminate possible values from rows, columns and zones. As you do the possible entries in the remaining squares reduces. I don't know about you but my memory simply isn't good enough to be able to remember all the possible values for every square for the entire puzzle and having to work it out every time you examine a square just wastes time. What you need is a way if indicating those values in each uncompleted square for quick and easy reference.
In paper Sudoku games you can lightly pencil in these values around the edge of each square. With an electronic version, especially one on a mobile phone, where the screen is quite small, entering tiny numbers in each square would probably be unreadable. 5ud0ku uses a different, novel approach. Each square may contain up to nine small square blobs, in the same colours as the numbers that each represents, to indicate possible values for that square. This way it is easy to see, by colour and pattern, where similar values appear in multiple squares and where potential conflicts may exist with established values in other squares.
Entering hints and indeed the values as well, is done from the keyboard, as I mentioned. Each number key is a toggle switch; hitting it once enters a value or hint, entering a second time removes it. If you had hints in a square prior to entering a value over them, removing it again redisplays the hints as they were. Your current position in the grid is indicated by a yellow background for the square if you are in Pen mode or a lilac background if in Pencil mode.
Check is a little helper if you think or find that you have made a mistake. Hitting Check highlights those squares containing correct values in green and those that are wrong with red. If course, if you have made a mess and don't want to try again, or can't complete the puzzle then there is an option to show you the correct answer for the entire puzzle.
When you complete the puzzle a window appears in the middle of the screen telling you how long you took. If you don't want to complete a puzzle but would like to go back to it then the current state of the game is saved automatically as you exit from the game.
And that's about it; utterly brilliant for Sudoku addicts like me. I would have been prepared to pay money for this game. The fact that it's totally free just shows that there really is such a thing as a "Free Lunch". That it's also just about the best implementation of electronic Sudoku available is really the icing on the cake.