More literal-minded readers out there will be pleased to know that this puzzle software from GSP doesn’t actually involve sitting and playing Kakuro infinitely, into the gaping black stretches of perpetuity. That would be unthinkable. A mere afternoon of the harder puzzles reduced our brains to jelly, let alone an eternity.
Kakuro is the latest Japanese puzzle game craze, following in the footsteps of Sudoku. The Americans call it Cross Sums, because when you get an early piece of the puzzle wrong and you don’t realise there’s an error until near the end when the whole thing is ballsed up, you get quite cross. Smash-your-mouse-up cross. Or it might just be because Kakuro is basically a numerical crossword.
Each puzzle is a crossword grid, with across and down ‘clues’ which are numbers. As with a crossword, every clue has a set number of spaces, which can be filled with a number from 1 to 9. The idea is that you complete them so the sum of the numbers adds up to the clue number, the catch being that you can’t repeat a digit in the same row or column.
The rules might be simple enough, but it certainly isn’t an easy game to beat, as we’ve already mentioned. Trying to work out which numbers go where is pretty taxing on the old mental agility, especially at the beginning of a grid and even more so on the larger and more difficult puzzles.
Luckily, the computer has some tricks up its sleeve to make matters a little more palatable. There’s a facility to pencil little numbers in faintly, for when you’re not sure if you’re correct, which is pretty much essential. What really gives PC Kakuro addicts the advantage over paper players is that each clue automatically shows its number combinations when moused over.
In other words, say the clue is 12, the possible combos to make that over two squares are 3+9, 4+8 or 5+7 (6+6 doesn’t work as it repeats the number). Having such information readily accessible is extremely handy, particularly for the bigger numbers.
Should you get stuck – and it will undoubtedly happen – there’s a hint button which will reveal a couple of numbers to help you progress. There’s also a high score table to shoot for, with the puzzle difficulty and time taken to solve it all counting towards your final total.
Kakuro Infinite Edition is simply but smartly presented, and as the name suggests it contains an infinite amount of puzzles. It’s tricky, even frustratingly knotty on the higher levels, but there’s a definite compulsion to beat the Kakuro grid and try just one more puzzle. The package GSP has put together here is well polished and good value for money.