Developer: LITTLE WORLDS STUDIO
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

My wife is intimidated by sudoku. There’s something about that wall of numbers that simply dissuades her from trying even one of the puzzles. Believe me, I’ve tried to convince her otherwise, but to no avail. Color Cross HD, however, is a different story. Taking the some of the basic premises of sudoku and kakuro and adding color and design elements to them, Color Cross HD is sudoku for the artistically inclined.

The familiar grid is still present, but rather than simply completing a grid of numbers, Color Cross HD has players completing blocky pictures by following certain rules for ascribing colors to portions of the grid. A row of the grid, for example, might have a 1, a 3, and a 5 listed at the top of the row. This means that somewhere in that row you have to figure out where to place one block of a color, three blocks and five blocks. Place a color in the wrong area and you will receive a time penalty. These are minor at first, but soon grow much larger. I’ve been playing quite a while, and I still get stung with penalties fairly often. Each color in the image is handled by a separate portion of the puzzle, and you can switch back and forth between colors by touching colored tubes of paint on the right side of the screen.

The overall design and execution fo Color Cross HD is exceptional. Graphics are nicely rendered, colors are bright and enticing, and sound effects/music cues are clever and well-integrated into the game as a whole. If there’s a weakness to the whole package, it’s the touch controls. They can be a little finicky, sometimes not recognizing when you’ve touched them. This can get frustrating when you are trying to mark a portion of the grid one way, but end up marking it another, causing a dreaded time penalty. Generally, however, they are responsive. It’s really only when you are changing tools that there seems to be a small problem.

Color Cross HD is a port of an existing PC game, and some of the vestiges of the original version have been accidentally left behind. The mention of clicking your mouse for certain actions is actually kind of funny when it comes up in the game’s tutorial. How quickly a mouse has become quaint in this new age of multi-touch screens. These small quibbles notwithstanding, Color Cross HD is a great translation of the sudoku mechanic to the more visually-interesting platform of the iPad. I’m hooked, and it got my wife interested in this kind of puzzle, which can’t be a bad thing.


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