Sudoku is that crazy little number puzzle that's been sweeping the nation, one newspaper at a time. The logic puzzle is apparently all kinds of popular these days, and it was only a matter of time until video games based on the puzzle started appearing. Among the first is Go! Sudoku, which was released on the PSP in Europe some time ago, and has more recently made its way to North American shelves courtesy of Ubisoft. This certainly is Sudoku, all right.
If you're unfamiliar with Sudoku, you don't need to know very much to feel like you're up on it. It's a simple-to-learn logic puzzle. In its most common form, you're given a nine-by-nine grid that is further divided into nine three-by-three blocks. Your task is to fill each row, column, and block of nine with the numbers one through nine, without any of them repeating. So each full row has to have one through nine in it, each full column has to have one through nine in it, and each block of nine squares has to have one through nine in it, all with no repeats. A portion of the puzzle is already filled in, and you need to use that information to deduce where all of the other numbers go.
Go! Sudoku has a thousand different puzzles, broken up into four difficulty settings. Your goal is to finish each puzzle as quickly as possible in order to get the best time. Mistakes are called out to you as soon as you make them, and they'll eventually lead to time penalties. In addition to the solo mode, you can play a mode in which you pass the PSP from player to player and have each player fill in one number. Wirelessly, you can compete against other players, send a game-share demo of the game, or merge your best-times list with other players'. Backing up the mess of puzzles is a basic look with some ambient music that doesn't really get in the way but isn't especially noteworthy, either.
In addition to the thousand puzzles that come with the game, you can download more, though the game itself doesn't actually have the download function built in. You'll have to go to Ubisoft's page on your PC or use the PSP browser, download the files, and place them in a specific folder on your memory stick. Interestingly, these files are very basic-looking XML files. It looks as though you could probably edit them to make your own puzzles, if you were so inclined.
This is the sort of game that works well with a mouse or with a touch screen. Since the PSP has neither of those things, it makes do with the standard controls. You use the triggers to select which number you want to work with, then hit X to draw it in the box you have highlighted. If you want to make notes about which numbers could possibly be in one of the boxes, you can place a small note of that number with the circle button, or erase your note of that number with square. It's about as good as you could hope for on the PSP, but again, a D pad and buttons simply isn't the ideal way to play this game.
If you're already into Sudoku, you probably already have a favorite way to play it, be it on paper, in a Web browser, or whatever. Considering there are tons of different ways to play the game for free, this package doesn't really seem necessary. But if you're on the go a lot and don't have any other way to get your Sudoku fix, Go! Sudoku is good enough to keep you going.