Read this critical review on Web Sudoku Deluxe and then decide for yourself.
A short while ago, one of my SudokuEssential.com visitors emailed me and asked me if I had a chance to review Web Sudoku Deluxe and how did it compare to Sudoku Dragon™?
I decided that was a good question, and this review is the result of that question.
I downloaded a trial copy of the software program. The first thing I noticed was that the trial period is very, very short. Exactly one hour in fact. That is very annoying!
I am not aware of any trial period for a Sudoku software program shorter than this one. It was so short, that I was not able to try all the puzzle variations.
I was able to glean enough information that should help you to decide if you want to download a copy for your own trial.
Puzzle Variations and Grid Options
Web Sudoku Deluxe has a generous amount of Sudoku game variations. They have one for everyone’s skill level. Here is what I found included in this software package.
You will find 4×4, 6×6, 9×9, 12×12, 16×16, Sudoku X, and Squiggly. I only had time enough to try the standard 9×9 version.
The difficulty levels differed depending upon which puzzle level one is solving. Here is a breakdown.
- 4×4 – Easy
- 6×6 – Easy, Medium
- 9×9 – Easy, Medium, Hard, Evil, Extreme
- 12×12 – Easy, Medium, Hard, Evil
- 16×16 – Easy, Medium, Hard, Evil
- Sudoku X – Easy, Medium, Hard, Evil
- Squiggly – Easy, Medium, Hard, Evil
The real question is how difficult are the puzzles? I was able to print only three 9×9 puzzles. (Another annoying limitation of the trial version.) They were graded Hard, Evil, and Extreme.
The Hard puzzle wasn’t very hard. I only found naked and hidden singles.
The Evil puzzle had only – get this – two naked pairs! (Yawn)
The Extreme puzzle finally gave some challenge. This puzzle contained, four locked candidates, three naked triples, one naked pair, and one X-wing.
I don’t know if the results are typical of each level or not. I was only given the ability to print three puzzles total. Perhaps, other puzzles might prove to be more difficult for each grade, but that is just optimistic speculation. I would only expect similar results. There is no way to tell unless you buy the program.
Web Sudoku Deluxe allows the user to use either numbers or letters even in the 9×9 grid. I would assume that the larger grids, would allow both simultaneously, but that is speculation on my part. I was not able in the limited time given to see if that is the case.
Look and Feel Adjustments
You can adjust the font for both the fixed values and the entered values. The default font for fixed values is Times New Roman and it is black in color.
The default font for entered values is Comic Sans MS. The default color is blue for one entered value, and a different color if two or more values are entered as candidates.
To select a cell for value entry, you either tab to the cell or just click on the desired cell with your left mouse button. Values are entered by typing in the number or letter. If you prefer to just use your mouse buttons for data entry, you are out of luck.
Pencil In Candidates Markups
Every good Sudoku program should allow you to enter candidates in some manner. Web Sudoku Deluxe is a bit strange in this regard.
The candidates must be typed into the cell. As I mentioned above, the first value is entered in blue in a large point size.
The second and additional candidates are entered in a different color and automatically resize to a smaller point size. As you enter more and more candidates, the string of candidates in a single line, become smaller and smaller to the point of being too hard for me to see them. The string of candidates are not sorted in any way.
Another very annoying sizing issue is, if you only entered the same single number as a candidate into two or more different cells in the same row, column, or 3×3 region, there isn’t any way outside of an excellent memory to determine if the cells entered are candidates or your final value for the cells. This can become confusing.
If you click the “How Am I Doing?” button to determine your current status, if you have two or more cells with the same single number you entered in as a candidate, the software will flag them as incorrect. The software does not recognize your intent that these are just candidates. The software assumes they are duplicate final cell values.
This very annoying candidate issue makes it difficult to solve Sudoku by entering only pairs of candidates as you find them, a technique that I sometimes use. A real bummer.
Automatic candidate entries is not an option. It is manual which is time consuming.
Many people need help when they try to solve a more difficult puzzle. Hints or clues can help the solver solve a cell or at least give the player a clue to what technique to use.
Web Sudoku Deluxe only gives you the option of three limited hints when you click the “How Am I Doing?” button. They are:
- Strict – Only show visible mistakes.
- Regular – Warn of wrong values.
- Helpful – Show wrong values.
I didn’t get much time to test these options. The regular or default setting will highlight in red, the rows, columns, and 3×3 regions that need attention.
Just remember, if you have two cells with single candidates entered, they will be flagged as incorrect, when in fact they are only candidates.
You will not get any clues as far as I could tell, as to what techniques to use such as X-Wing, Swordfish, etc. If you want these you are out of luck.
Some Sudoku software programs will give you a warning and/or prevent you from entering a wrong value into a cell. Web Sudoku Deluxe does not give you any warning.
I was able to enter a 0 and letters into any cell in the 9×9 grid I was testing. Good programmers will filter out and prevent invalid entries. This is a basic lesson taught in programming 101 classes I have taken.
Importing Sudoku Puzzles
Do you like to enter puzzles from a newspaper or book into your software program to play? If you do, you are out of luck doing this in Web Sudoku Deluxe. This program does not give you this option.
Do you want to find in which cell(s) a certain candidate number resides? Not a chance with this program. Filtering is not an option. Nuts!
Do you want helpful tutorials to teach you about how to solve Sudoku? You will not find any here! Few programs provide tutorials.
Web Sudoku Deluxe is a basic program that performs well, except for the most annoying candidate entry issues I found and mentioned.
It is a clean and simple interface. It looks like the web version. It generates more puzzles than you can solve. The few puzzles I had time to solve, had single answers as expected.
It gives you several Sudoku variant puzzles outside of the standard 9×9 grid.
Is it better than Sudoku Dragon™?
That is a personal choice. The best way to tell is to download both programs and compare. Just remember, you only have one hour to test Web Sudoku Deluxe. You have 22 days for Sudoku Dragon.
Web Sudoku Deluxe sells for $14.95.