A few years ago, Sudoku – a seemingly simple Japanese puzzle game which involved fitting the digits 1-9 in a 9×9 grid which itself was divided into nine sections of nine boxes each – became a rage. And in best rage tradition, it spawned books and apps by the dozen. To the extent that after a while, things got a bit predictable. The color and presentation of the puzzle might differ but at the end of the day, you still had to fit digits into a 9×9 grid. So you could have forgiven us for a lack of enthusiasm when we were introduced to yet another Sudoku game, Sudoku Quest+.

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Yes, it was free. But well, it seemed a tad bulky at an over 30 MB download. And what could it do that other games had not done – and that too, to death – already? Well, we installed the game and twenty minutes later, were playing it with a feverishness that we had not experience since our Sudoku initiation. The reason for this was simple – yes, this game has the soul of Sudoku but in practice, it is rather different both in gameplay as well as in presentation. For starters, it has something like a storyline. You are told about an era in which the seven kingdoms (don’t ask us which, we know out ourselves) were ruled by the Sudoku Masters. “Peace and solace was maintained throughout the realm,” we are told. Too good to last? You betcher. The kingdoms revolt against the Masters, kill them and steal the ‘secret elements’ of Sudoku. Your task? To get things back to normal. How? By solving Sudoku puzzles.

Ah, so it is basically Sudoku with some story woven around it,” the cynical may remark. Well, it is. And it isn’t. For, you see, the developers have bravely stepped away from the 9×9 grid that defines Sudoku for most people and have instead experimented with grids of various sizes. You start off with a 4×4 grid divided into four segments and have to fit the digits 1-4 in it, without any digit being repeated in a row or column. As the ante is upped and the campaign gets tougher, you get more empty spaces to fill up in the grids, and ultimately move up grid sizes. There is also a timer running in the corner, letting you know how much time you have left – if you run out of time, you can also purchase extra time (in-app purchases, here we come).

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Don’t think of abandoning the puzzle and going back to it again – the puzzles change every time you start the game, adding phenomenal repeat play value.The puzzles are colorful (you can turn off the colours if you wish), the music very much in keeping with the Mystical East ambience (all right, we confess it reminded us of Shogun: Total War at times), and the interface rather simple – you tap on the square in which you wish to place a number and then tap on the number itself (which is displayed on a handy panel beneath the grid) to place it there. You have the option to undo a certain number of moves, make rough/guess number placements and of course, share your performance on Facebook.

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All of which makes Sudoku Quest+ one of the most addictive Sudoku games we have played for a while. Actually, it is the first Sudoku game that has really held our attention after the legions of simple Sudoku clones. It is simple, well-presented and most importantly, uses the basic concept of Sudoku in different grid formats. If you are a Sudoku fan or even a former one (like us), download this. It will either reinforce your love for the puzzle or heck (like us) make us fall in love with it again.

Download from: iTunes App Store
Price: Free

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Nimish Dubey has been writing for more than a decade now (well, Windows 3.1 was around and Apple was on the verge of being finished when he started). He has been published in a number of publications including The Times of India, Mint, The Economic Times, Mid-Day and Femina on subjects that vary from tech write -ups to book reviews to music album round ups. He managed to interview Michael Schumacher once and write two books for young adults along the way.