Developer: DOGFISH SOFTWARE
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 2.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Kakuro continues to be a phenomenon in the US, in spite of its consistently difficult learning curve. Something of a variant on classic Sudoku, Kakuro presents an empty and uneven grid that players must fill with numbers that add up to the sums listed at the top, bottom, left and right sides of that grid. If it sounds confusing and confounding, it is…especially at first. However, practice with fairly simple Kakuro puzzles, as is also the case with Sudoku, opens a player’s mind to the logical possibilities inherent in each puzzle, and urges players to try harder and harder puzzles.

Now, developer Dogfish Software has translated the Kakuro experience to the iPad, and the translation, though not visually or aurally stimulating, is actually a handy way to improve your logical skills in the game. Opening the app for the first time, the player is immediately dropped into a moderately difficult puzzle, which might prove too daunting for beginners. Resetting the game to an easy puzzle is recommended for newbies and the like, as the fundamentals of play are much easier to grasp on a smaller grid. Entering numbers is accomplished through the use of a small calculator-like graphic at the bottom of the screen, which also includes undo functions. There is also a handy hint function near the numerical pad that, when tapped, pulls up lists of number combinations that could be employed in the specific area of the grid you’re working on.

Kakuro CS is relatively spartan and utilitarian in presentation, but it functions well for its intended purpose. The sea green background color and lack of many sound effects do not contribute to any sense of atmosphere in the game. What you do get, however, is a good series of challenging Kakuro puzzles with a clearly-designed interface. And anyway, who needs a lot of graphical/audio flash with puzzles this mind-bendingly intense?

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