Zendoku Hands-On

We go up against sudoku black belts as we check out Eidos' upcoming puzzler.


Earlier this week, during a visit to Eidos' new Redwood City office, we had an opportunity to get our hands on a work-in-progress Nintendo DS version of Zendoku for the first time. Currently scheduled for release in June, Zendoku is a Sudoko-style puzzle game in which you'll be tasked with arranging symbols on a 9x9 grid in such a way that the same one never appears in the same row, column, or 3x3 square twice. Furthermore, the game is played competitively, and every time you successfully complete a row, column, or 3x3 square, or place nine of the same symbol on the board, you'll "attack" your opponent.

Your choice of character shouldn't be a purely cosmetic one.
Your choice of character shouldn't be a purely cosmetic one.

When you launch an attack at your opponent, as represented by one of several different martial artists onscreen, that player will be required to complete a minigame before being allowed to continue work on the puzzle at hand. We saw a handful of different attack minigames during our time with the game, which included wiping or blowing items off the screen and using the stylus to block incoming punch combos. The minigames will obviously play out a little differently on the PlayStation Portable, but we didn't get to see that version in action on this occasion.

Zendoku's quest mode will let you choose one of several characters to play as--each of which has its own storyline and special abilities--and then pit you against increasingly challenging opponents as you attempt to unlock new playable characters. Other single-player gameplay modes include zen mode, which tasks you with completing puzzles against the clock on one of five difficulty settings; attack box, which lets you practice the various minigames that you'll play when attacked by an opponent; and classic mode, which swaps out the symbols for numbers so you can solve traditional sudoku puzzles either with or without a time limit. Wireless multiplayer options will also be supported with only a single copy of the game, including both versus and cooperative modes.

Quite how well Zendoku will compare to the likes of Puzzle Quest and Super Puzzle Fighter remains to be seen, but we enjoyed our time with it today, and we're looking forward to bringing you more information as soon as it becomes available.

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