Hands-on with handhelds - Touch the Dead, Diner Dash, Zendoku

Zendoku (DS)
Release Date: June 5, 2007

What's Zendoku, you ask? It's everyone's favorite crossword killer, Sudoku, infused with the mystical state of Zen. And since you can't have Zen in a videogame without various samurai and karate warriors showing up, Zendoku is also infused with those.

Basically, this game is to Sudoku titles what Super Puzzle Fighter II was to Tetris. As you solve your board on the lower screen, anime fighters on the upper screen dish damage to each other. Accomplishments like completing a row, column or box send attacks over to your opponent. Read ourearlier preview for info on how you can pull off combos and how the usual Sudoku numbers have been replaced by cute and fuzzy symbols like panda bears.

This time, we were interested to find out how the enemy's attacks were brought to life using the DS's unique functions. On the PSP, an "attack" is actually a minigame that covers your board and stalls your progress while you solve it. It's the same on DS, but instead of random meaningless button mashing, the minigames might ask you to break tiles with the stylus or blow down paper knights with the microphone. What has the potential to get annoying on the PSP is actually fun on the DS. We almost wanted to lose so we could see what the next minigame had in store for us.

Although all three handheld games we played at Eidos - Zendoku, Diner Dash and Touch the Dead - have the potential for simple, fun distractions on your DS or PSP, it was the fourth, currently unannounced handheld title that promised the most innovation and creativity. Don't worry... we swear to bring you a hands-on preview of that game as soon as we're allowed to talk about it.

Charlie Barratt
I enjoy sunshine, the company of kittens and turning frowns upside down. I am also a fan of sarcasm. Let's be friends!