Review: Play at your level with the easily customizable Sudoku1

Experts and newbies can get a Sudoku fix with these games for all ages and expertise.

Whether you're new to this numbers game or already hooked, Sudoku1 offers numerous ways to play. There are some challenges to the dated interface, but the actual game screen looks fine and you can customize it nearly anyway you want. The biggest downside wasn't its utilitarian design, however; it was the background music that played with no apparent way to turn it off.

When you open Sudoku1 for the first time, you need to choose between French and English. You're then presented with a small but somewhat confusing array of options divided into Championship Mode and Free Game. As far as we could tell, both were free. The difference is that Championship games were automatically loaded once you picked a category such as Normal or Kids, while Free Game offers access to catalogs of games and allows you to create your own. Some of the English translations throughout the game weren't as clear as they could have been, which made it a bit hard to understand the categories and the purpose of each game, although the Help file proved to be detailed and useful in most cases. But all this aside, once you get to the grid, the gameplay is very good. If you choose the Kids category, the grids are filled with images, not numbers, a good way to introduce young ones to the game. A packed toolbar at the top of the grid lets you enlarge text, change its color, and alter nearly everything else on screen. It looked like something from an Access database. We left the default settings, just dragging the screen to easily resize the grid into the more typical square-shaped cells.

Sudoku1 lacks the polish of some of its competitors, but it shines where it really matters -- in its games. If you're a Sudoku fan, or want to give it a try, ignore the surroundings, mute your audio, and dive into Sudoku1.

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