Review: Str8ts - Step Aside, Sudoku
Developed by: Syndicated Puzzles
Review by: VoodooVyper
[Full] - $2.99
[Lite] - N/A
Also by Syndicated Puzzles: 1 - 25
Upon first seeing the description for Str8s, I thought to myself "I was never really waiting for a Sudoku competitor." I thought it was just another number puzzler that was here today, gone tomorrow. For the first time in my life, I was wrong.
Str8s is an amazing number puzzler with similarities to Sudoku. It has the look of a crossword puzzle, but with numbers and rules similar to Sudoku. Some may be thrown off by the fact that the rule set is a bit different, but rest assured, there is a tutorial that, in detail, explains the workings of the game.
After tapping the well-designed icon, you are greeted with a very brief image and brought to the main menu in no more than 2 seconds. Here, you will find a beautifully polished menu system that doesn't do anything new. You will find Play, Rules, and Tutorial.
The tutorial takes you through 13 pages that basically shows a puzzle being completed step by step with an explanation for more moves. I found this to be rather confusing in the way it was setup and finished the tutorial feeling a bit lost. I would have much preferred a tutorial that walked you through a very basic puzzle as you actually play it yourself.
After reading the tut, I went back to the main menu and read the rules section, which is basically a shortened, to-the-point explanation of the game and its workings, which provided a bit of clarity.
In the Play menu, you are greeted with a few things to choose from. "My last game" which continues your last game from where you left off. Then there are four difficulties to choose from (Jack (easiest) - Ace (hardest)) for a total of an astounding 751 puzzles.
You can start a puzzle in any of the four difficulties and the progress saves for each one.
The actual gameplay itself is fluid. There isn't much animation to speak of, but the tapping is accurate and selecting a number and placing it is as easy as thinking it.
You are allowed to check to see if the numbers you entered were correct by pressing the check button, and the incorrect numbers will be highlighted in red. This is a great idea for newcomers and earlier levels, but this featured can be used in all of the difficulties, which I think takes away from the challenge of the game, but also leaves it easily accessible to the less patient players. I would prefer to see some sort of penalty for using the 'check' feature (ie adding a minute to the clock), but then again, the time doesn't really seem to have much purpose as either, as, from what I see, there is no way to go back to a previous puzzle to better your time.
Rating: 4/5 Stars. It's an amazingly polished title with an awesome idea behind the gameplay and will surely give Sudoku fans a challenge and keep them interested. I would like to see a more interactive tutorial, some sort of penalty for using the 'check' feature, and a use for the timer.