Buku Sudoku – XBLA

Developer: Absolutist Ltd./Publisher: Xbox LIVE Arcade


Sudoku is one of those things which has crept from the sensible, inky pages of the morning papers where it nestled beside crosswords and quizzes, and slowly permeated into the world of console games.  After appearing on the more obvious formats such as the DS, it arrives rather demurely on XBLA in the form of the solid Buku Sudoku.

Control with a pad was always going to be interesting, especially given rival systems’ more natural methods which aped the chewed biro scribblings of ‘hardcopy puzzling’ with ease.  However, while relying on thumbsticks and triggers as opposed to a stylus could lead to a potentially game killing problem, Buku Sudoku carefully avoids this pothole with intuitive , easy controls which, after a grid or three, will become second nature.

The easy grid...ideal for knackered gaming or grinding points

The easy grid...ideal for knackered gaming or grinding points

A pleasing desk themed interface sets the mood, carrying through to friend’s leaderboards, personal stats, and game options.  The ambient music and sound effects (while oddly loud) , help make this one of those relaxing games for when you just can’t be bothered slinging on your assault rifle or stamping on Koopas.

While not a challenge of endurance or dexterity, the game is naturally, being a puzzler, not without its difficulties, though these are entirely of the player’s making, rather than obtuse gameplay.  A range of difficulty settings and modes, such as timed play, combined with a choice of grid sizes ranging from the baby blocks of a 6 number grid to a head-spinning 12, will ensure that there is something to suit even the most vanilla puzzler as well as those with more masochistic tastes.

Standard nine by nine for Sudoku traditionalists

Standard nine by nine for Sudoku traditionalists

Multiplayer is straightforward enough, providing team battles and head to head for competitive matches and a co-op mode for puzzling with friends on the same grid.  The ability to jump into a quick match or customise and create one is always welcome, but finding anyone with whom to knock down the multiplayer achievements may be a tall order.

Arguably, what is really a lone pursuit should not have come with multiplayer achievements shoehorned in, especially considering its likely narrow market, and this is one of the game’s main failings.  Additional content in the form of extra puzzles is available to download, though arguably, it would be hard to see any player running out or noticing any repeated grids unless they were a diehard puzzler.  Aside from the niggle of multiplayer achievements for a game such as this, there isn’t a great deal to complain about, but on the other hand, there isn’t a lot to shout about either.  It is simply Sudoku, albeit in pretty duds, and if that is all you want, then this shouldn’t disappoint.


Overall, Buku Sudoku is a well presented, solid puzzle game with easy controls and an attractive interface.  It offers a welcome diversion from the rigours of more dramatic titles on XBLA, making it ideal for passing time or simply winding down.  While it won’t set your world alight, it will compliment your cocoa and fluffy slippers and you can’t say fairer than that.

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Filed Under: ReviewsXBLA


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