Okay – full disclosure. I am the most casual of casual gamers. My attention span when it comes to video games is that of a goldfish. I love mobile games and any kind of word or number puzzle the Apple store has to offer. I’m a mom, so I don’t get much time to devote to lengthy games unless it’s watching my preteen play Minecraft… Again. That being said, I have been known to pick up the Nintendo Switch on the odd occasion that it’s not already occupied by another member of my family. I love the Switch as a portable console, but the games I’ve played are a little too heavy for my style of gameplay. I needed something I could play for five or ten minutes. Something I could sneak into the bathroom, away from my spawn, with a glass of wine and my bunny slippers. This is where Word Sudoku by POWGI comes in.
I have been in love with Sudoku ever since I did my first puzzle out of the back of a newspaper when I was a young teen. My mom and I would stay up late on weekends, sitting at the table, playing music while we solved puzzles; we had copies of the same book, so we’d try and race to see who’d finish first. I’ve found that, as I grow older, I turn to Sudoku and other similar puzzles to relax on a weeknight before bed. They are super satisfying to solve – especially the more difficult ones. When I was offered a code for the game in exchange for a review, I jumped at the chance.
For those who haven’t played a Sudoku puzzle before, the object of the game is to use the process of elimination to figure out each missing number. There are nine large boxes, each containing nine smaller boxes with numbers one through nine. Each row and column will also contain numbers one through nine.
I started up Word Sudoku and was pleasantly surprised with a simple main menu and incredibly foolproof controls. Starting a game is super easy, and the whole interface is very user-friendly. There are 240 puzzles, varying in difficulty from “beginner” all the way to “fiendish”. Beginner puzzles offer up a lot of pre-solved squares, whereas the fiendish puzzles make you really exercise your brain, supplying only one or two answers per larger square. Additionally, when a number is misplaced, it is highlighted in red to alert the player of an incorrect answer. This is really handy when playing a quick game, but personally, I wished it was something you could toggle on and off, as I masochistically kind of enjoy having to go back and try and find my mistake.
What makes Word Sudoku by POWGI really unique is the addition of letters to each puzzle. I admit, I’m a seasoned puzzle pro, and this really threw me. Each puzzle can be completed either with words or numbers, so each one is twice as nice! Letters bring a whole new level of difficulty to the game – which I was completely in favour of.
You can solve the puzzles either with the JoyCons or with the touchscreen on the Nintendo Switch. I opted for the touchscreen because I have lazy thumbs, but the JoyCon controls were very fluid and straightforward too. The puzzles are clean and simple to understand, and completing my first “beginner” puzzle only took about three minutes.
I found after several puzzles of varying difficulties were under my belt, that the only downside was the simplicity of the gameplay. I found myself wishing that there was more to the aesthetic – with a grey and teal colour scheme, it was a bit dull. Some bright colours to really make each puzzle pop would have made for a more inviting game overall. I would have also loved to have seen some trophies (50 puzzles solved, a hard puzzle solved in 5 minutes or less, etc.) or a challenge mode where you’ve got to beat the clock. Really, the simplicity that I love about Word Sudoku ends up being a bit of a double-edged sword.
That being said, Word Sudoku by POWGI is definitely one of the better Sudoku games I’ve picked up for a mobile device. A super clean, user-friendly menu paired with a plethora of puzzles is well worth the $7 price tag. For a casual gamer like myself, who would probably spend more than that on a Sudoku book in the checkout lane of the grocery store, this is a steal. Word Sudoku is the casual gamer’s dream, all wrapped up in the super portable packaging of the Nintendo Switch!
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*