The front cover for this brain bender features a silhouette of Sherlock Holmes, presumably because if the DS had been around during Sherlock’s lifetime then he’d get stuck into Slitherlink instead of trying to catch Jack the Ripper and having his way with Watson. It’s elementary, dear reader.
Let’s bring you up to speed with this one. It’s part of Hudson’s currently Japan-only puzzle range – number five, to be precise – and is a digital version of those ‘loop the loop’ puzzles you sometimes find in the more expensive newspapers. Only here you don’t get print all over your shirt and make a mess on the page when you try to cross out a mistake you’ve foolishly made.
Fortunately the fact that it’s in Japanese doesn’t hinder progress or enjoyment, although it’s not as instantly familiar as Tetris, Columns and other pick up and play puzzlers. The idea is to draw a continuous line through a grid of squares, where the line touches as many edges of each square as the number in the square. So a square with a 3 in it will need three sides to be filled in; if it’s a 0, then you avoid it.
Double tapping the stylus places an X on the screen so you can mark where not to draw, which is very handy; when you’re stuck it’s a good idea to see what areas of the grid are left, and it’s also quite a good way of spotting mistakes. When no errors are to be found the line glows multiple colours to indicate that you’re on the way to completion. Another touch that the newspaper-based cousins lack.
The early puzzles are set on 6×6 grids, with later ones on colossal 24×14 beasts which take the best part of an hour to finish. The bigger puzzles take up more than one screen too, so you have to scroll around, which is a little annoying, although the top screen is used to display the full grid in a super-compressed fashion.
Konami usually publish Hudson’s games outside of Japan, but there are presently no plans to release Slitherlink outside of Japan. Which is a shame, as the DS and Slitherlink go together as well together as Tetris and the original Game Boy. Hopefully Nintendo of Europe will step in, because if Picross can make it then this certainly can.