Sanuk Games – PS minis Round-up

Sanuk Games,  known well for a variety of puzzle games, has provided us with copies of all four of their Playstation minis that are currently available on the Playstation Network. If you’re not familiar with the ‘minis’, you can think of them as good things in small packages. Minis are limited to 100MB in size, ensuring your download is quick and simple, and they can be played on either the PSP or the Playstation 3 console. They’re primary aimed at PSP users, as the games aren’t in high definition, so don’t expect a superb looking title on a 42″ HDTV. Let’s take a look at a few of Sanuk Games’ creations.

Telegraph Crosswords

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Sanuk’s most recent release, Telegraph Crosswords, gives players the chance to complete 500 crossword puzzles over three levels of difficulty. The quick puzzles typically use 1 word hints, and you just have to figure out the synonym of that word.  With some basic thought, you shouldn’t have too much trouble on these puzzles. If you want more of a challenge, you play the ‘General Knowledge’ puzzles, which are essentially equivalent to newspaper crossword puzzles. The former capital of Ethiopia was never part of my general knowledge, but then again, I was never very good at crossword puzzles. The final set remains, Cryptic puzzles, which are for the experts. In these puzzles, you’re given very vague and cryptic hints, most of which make no sense (or so it would seem), and you’ve got to fill in the blanks.

It’s a challenging game on any level, and you may feel like you’re being rushed as there’s a time counting up as you play. If you’re stuck on a word, you can actually get a ‘hint’, though the game seriously fills the letter in for you. If you’d like, you can have the game tell you every letter to every word, but that would be cheating. If you’re going for top times, we wouldn’t recommend you use that method, as each ‘hint’ will add one minute to your elapsed time. That’s a little more fair, isn’t it? Also, when you’re adding the letters, the box edge will become red or green, helping you easily determine if you’ve got the correct word, or in some cases, the correct spelling.

Telegraph Crosswords retails on the Playstation Store for only $2.99, a very worthy price for 500 puzzles and many hours of gameplay. It presents itself well, and it has three enjoyably bouncy beats to listen to while you play. The game supports a very simple interface so anyone including your parents could pick it up to play. Head onto the Playstation Store and check it out for yourself.

Hysteria Project

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Imagine a cross between Heavy Rain and Resident Evil 2 – you’ve got quick on-screen actions and survival horror. That’s what Hysteria Project brings you on the Playstation Network.  Immediately after you start the game, you’ll have to perform actions that are posted on-screen. To keep things simple, the game limits you to using only the X & O buttons.

You play the role of a captive man, and you’re attempting to escape from a seemingly psychotic killer in a desolate forest. Like Heavy Rain, you’re required to hit the buttons that appear on-screen, sometimes in a very timely fashion, though other moments are forgivable if you’re slow. Once freed from the shack where you begin, you enter the forest. The game is an on-rails style where you’ll automatically run to dedicated points. At these points, you’ve got only seconds to make a choice that can mean life or death. Choose the go left, go right, hide, or whatever else is asks you.  At times, Hysteria Project is all about luck, as you don’t always have a hint on where to go, and if you choose the wrong option, you’ll likely be killed. Other times, the game gives you vague hints if you’re paying attention.  If you die, don’t worry, you can retry from that last action, and you’ll never have to redo anything more than a 30 second portion of the game.

The game features life-like visuals, more appreciated on PSP over the PS3 of course, but playing on a large TV just seems to make it seem that much more intense, at least for me. Accompanying the visuals, a very eerie soundtrack is included to enhance your experience. The general presentation of the game is great for survival horror fans, and it’s original in the sense that there is no true combat, aside from a few  of the action moments similar to Heavy Rain.

Hysteria Project costs the tiny amount of $1.99 on the Playstation Store, and if you want a game that can cause the infamous ‘goosebumps’, you may want to check it out. The experience is short-lived, as the game can be completed in under 90 minutes, and has a cliffhanger ending, but it’s fun for the time you do get. We’re hoping to see more on the way to find out what happens next!

Spot the Differences!

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In Spot the Differences, players are viewing two images simultaneously, and you’ve got to scroll around the images carefully and indicate the differences. It’s made easier by having two cursors, one on each image, and you control them both at the same time using the D-Pad. It may sound each, but there’s a very definite challenge in this game, more so as you move through the four levels of difficulty.

Each pair of images starts out with five differences between them, and a time limit to find them all. You get 3 freebies where it’ll locate a difference for you, but don’t expect to get any points for those ones if you use that option. There are multiple categories for the images you can play, including foods, wildlife, and many others. Some images are much easier than others, for example, a picture of puppies, versus a very well-stocked produce section of a grocery store. The differences can be very blatant such as adding a colored bracelet, or extremely vague such as some hair extending further on one image.

You’ll spend most of your time in the arcade mode unlocking the tougher difficulty levels, but the game does have custom modes as well. In custom modes, you can choose specific images to play, or you can play Time Attack to get the best times on each puzzle. With four levels of difficulty and well over 20 images to spot differences on, you’re sure to get a few solid hours of enjoyment from Spot the Differences! Grab it now on the Playstation Store (Games –> PS3 –> minis) and enjoy the game!

Telegraph Sudoku & Kakuro

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Puzzle games aren’t for everyone, and even more so, we each have specific likes, dislikes, or even skills. Skills are required to play Telegraph Sudoku & Kakuro. Number games aren’t my forte, so forgive me for providing a vague summary on this title.

First  off, the Sudoku portion of the game offers four types of Sudoku gameplay. You can play the normal game, or you can venture into Sudoku X, mini Sudoku, or Jigsaw Sudoku.  Since I’m a novice, I stuck to easy mode in the mini Sudoku puzzles, where you’re presented with 6×6 puzzle boards. Each mode includes four difficulties though, so if you want something more challenging, you’ll surely find it. As in Telegraph Crosswords, hints are available to give you the correct number in each box, but it will give you a nasty time penalty along with the correct number.

Kakuro is an interesting number game, one which I wasn’t even aware off. There’s the one mode with various difficulty levels in this version, and again, I’m sticking with the “easy” puzzles.  Each horizontal and vertical line on the board varies in length, and each have specific numbers posted at the edges. The numbers you fill into the blanks must add up to the sum of both the horizontal and vertical sums. It requires some thought, but victory in the easy mode games is very attainable.

This dual package of games is only $2.99 on the Playstation Store, so if you’re a fan of even one of the included games, you should find that a fair price. There’s over 600 puzzles to play for that price, and I can’t image completing everything in under 20 hours. Throw it on your PSP, take it on a trip, it’s sure to keep you entertained if you enjoy number-themed puzzles.


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