Sep 17, 2010


NumNom, currently on sale for $0.99, is a game that attracted me because of its comparison to Sudoku. I love Sudoku. NumNom is no Sudoku. To be fair, I think the goal is more so to get the Sudoku keyword in the Android Market description than to try and claim that it's like Sudoku. In fact, the description says that it's "easier than Sudoku" and with that I agree.

NumNom is a math puzzle. You have a 7 x 7 grid of numbers from 1 to 9 and a target total and it's your job to highlight groups of numbers that add up to this total. Highlighted blocks in a valid grouping are, in game terminology, popped and change to a gray 0 block. Blocks with a 0 on CAN be used in future groups, but for each 0 block used there is a penalty. As you use more 0 blocks to complete a grouping the penalty grows in a, presumably, nonlinear fashion.

The one cool thing about this is that games are chosen by number and for each game #X the board always starts the board out the same. There are roughly 100,000 different boards to play on. This allows you to compete online for better solutions (i.e. higher scores) on a given board. I'm sure some will find analyzing a board and looking for a better solution satisfying. I don't. I much prefer a puzzle where I can either solve it or I'm left working on it until I do. I'm also the kind of gamer that doesn't care what kind of grade I earn when I complete a level... all I care about is getting the job done successfully. Consequently, I won't be replaying Fuzzies until I earn an A on each level as completing each level is enough for me. The interesting thing about my mentality is that all they have to do is create a benchmark score that I have to meet in order to pass and we'd be back in business again. Maybe, NumNom will add that one day. I suspect one reason it doesn't is the level of effort it would take to solve each of the 100,000 different puzzles.

qrcodeThe graphics and sound are as you'd expect in a decent puzzle game and I didn't experience any issues with them. The touch control of selecting numbers works well and is aptly suited for a touch screen. The high score support is nice, but so far there aren't enough players on anything but the first few boards to be interesting. I'm #1 for board 54 on my first try which isn't saying much.

In conclusion, this is pretty much a black or white game. Does adding up numbers that are close to each other on a board sound like a good time? Trying to find a better solution for a given board will surely appeal to some, but for me it doesn't hold my interest. The game does what it's trying to do well, but I'm not left feeling like I want to keep playing. For me this is an average, 3/5 stars, puzzle game, but I applaud the attempt at something new.

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