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Lola's Fruit Shop Sudoku - DSiWare Review

Game Info
Lola's Fruit Shop Sudoku

DSiWare | BeiZ | 1 Player | Out Now | 200 Nintendo Points
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Review
21st August 2012; By KnucklesSonic8

When someone prefaces an offer for employment with phrases like "amazing opportunity" and "personally beneficial", I doubt you'd picture yourself working at a concession stand. But a child looking to experience the world in new ways will take what they can get -- especially if it's one that their parents actually approve of. Pitching the idea of management and educational learning is Lola's Fruit Shop Sudoku, a game that strives to instruct kids on Sudoku principles at an easygoing pace -- and does a fair job of it, too.


    Sticking to the identical realization suggested in the game's title, Lola's Fruit Shop Sudoku swaps out numbers for fruit in hopes that younger audiences will relate more to something visual that they have greater exposure to rather than something abstract. Guiding you into it are a series of instructions relayed by a female voiceover, with further audio messages heard as the stylus is used to drag fruit from the bottom of the Touch Screen into empty squares on the grid. After completing a few puzzles, Lola, an ordinary panda bear, will ask you to stock her stand with one of the available sets of fruit. A full inventory will mark the end of a session and send you back to the Main Menu where you can go through another brief set of Sudoku puzzles if you wish.

    Somewhere down the line, the fruit featured in the early puzzles will switch to numerical values. By then, it is assumed that players will have a good handle on the main organization aspect that using numbers won't seem like any difference, to which I would agree as there's nothing difficult about this at all in terms of comprehension. Even on Hard mode, there is always one row where three of the four squares are completed. From there, it becomes very easy to surmise where the other numbers belong (or fruit, as the case may be). So that was a good decision on their part.

    I'm always keen to observe how developers explore these sorts of educational environments with a fresh outlook. Doing away with a clustered approach of, say, having the setting based in a flea market, there's very little obstructing the learning process. At the same time, there's also very little encouraging it. Respecting the fact that introducing anything additional has to make logistical sense especially when catering to kids, I really feel that the developers could've taken this at least one step farther, if not more. Instead of just stocking the shop in a (excuse the pun) fruitless endeavour, there was potential to drive a selling component whereby the application of the understood teachings could be taken to a more beneficial outcome.

    
What is more, the invitation to participate is a short-lived one, as there are only a relatively small handful of puzzles available across the three difficulty settings. Also worth bringing up is the fact that the presentation isn't all that inviting. The simple animations of the panda aren't at all refined; the backgrounds and celebratory fireworks are really basic; and the music, while somewhat decent in its use of ukulele sounds, is rather dull. Everything about the game's presentation is lacklustre, and in the interest of bringing out that enthusiasm to learn, this is one area where the game could've especially used improvement.


    Parents will deem this as a safe and friendly way for their kids to understand what Sudoku is all about, but I can't help but feel that more could've been done to extend this further. Not only in terms of presentation but really in its delivery as well, Lola's Fruit Shop Sudoku is perfectly content with doing the bare minimum. Without really pushing for something stronger, its appeal is ultimately more limited than originally intended.


17/30 - Okay/Average

Gameplay 7/10 - Use of fruit to help communicate Sudoku principles has aided in the comprehension factor, gradually moves towards numbers
Presentation 5/10 - Not very pleasing, largely features basic execution with lacklustre animation work, dull and repetitive music
Enjoyment 3/5 - Learning process is easy to get into, missed potential to push the application component further, environment not too encouraging
Extra Content 2/5 - Doesn't offer a whole lot of levels to go through, three settings with even Hard Mode puzzles being of proper difficulty

Equivalent to a score of 57% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System


Review by KnucklesSonic8



Lola's Fruit Shop Sudoku
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