In Which I Review Puzzle Apps #1: Shirodoko

I was browsing /r/puzzles when I saw a post by someone, stating that en had created a Kurodoko-related app called Shirodoko. For those of us who clicked the link above and are about to complain that I've linked you to an article about Kuromasu instead, they are the same thing.

Now, the first thing that ticked me off was the name. For those of us not in the know, "Kurodoko" is often translated as "Where Is Black Cells?", so Shirodoko would be "Where Is White Cells?". I was rather annoyed, therefore, to notice that in none of the screenshots for the game were there any white shaded cells.

I also saw that in one of the screenshots, there were differently-coloured cells instead of a sea of black (or white) cells. "Oh no," thought I to myself, "Perhaps this is a 12-year-old who firmly believes that en's design choices are brilliant." The reason this is a problem is because it looks annoying, takes up more code, and serves no purpose. You don't need to put it in your code. Take it out so that the game will run faster on slow devices (like BlueStacks App Player).

But still, perhaps the screenshots were merely not representative of the game as a whole. So I downloaded it. After all, it was free.

I opened it up and discovered that it was connected to Google Play Game Services. The authorization screen for Google Play Game Services is extremely annoying. If possible, I would suggest to turn off the requirements of it wanting to know who's in my circles, and turn off the ability to post to my page.

The first thing I looked for when playing it was an option to turn off coloured squares. It was THERE that I found an option to turn the squares white as well. So that mystery's solved then.

The app's page said ""Translated" in over 30 languages. The language option in the app, though, only allows switching between English, French, and Spanish. Celui qui a créé cette application est un sale menteur. Én probablemente debe tomar un momento para pensar en sus palabras.

I wanted to see how well the creator had entered the rules. En had done so very well (besides the use of "coloured" instead of "shaded"). Then I checked the tutorial.

Here is a sample screen from the tutorial. (Did I forget to mention that this app is ad-supported? Because it is.)

The app says that the 9 and 10 at the bottom are both already solved, and that the 11 and 12 are solved because of this.

However, there are no black dots at R6C9, R7C9, R8C5, R8C6, and R8C9, which implies that some of those squares COULD be shaded. Therefore, the tutorial is contradictory and/or inconsistent.

Not only that; there is more than one solution to the tutorial problem.

I can forgive the fact that there were coloured blocks. I can forgive the screenshots not reflecting the title. I can forgive the Google Play Game Services screen, and all of the tiny little bugs, inconsistencies, and bad UI choices (why on earth would you not program the "tap twice to pencil-mark a square" option instead?!) that annoy me.

But this is an abomination. Logic puzzles should only have ONE solution, or else they cannot be solved using logic! It doesn't matter if they can all be accepted as a correct answer, the fact is that there is no longer a fully logical path to the solution, and that one is required to guess somewhere! Puzzlemaster Grant Fikes stated it well (you should probably read the comments, too): "How am I, as a logic puzzle connoisseur who wishes to keep his blog PG-rated, supposed to respond to such an atrocity? There is no appropriate invective-free response to this kind of horror. You simply do not bill something as a logic puzzle with only one solution, and have it actually have multiple solutions."

This is why I have subtracted 10 points from its original rating. Please, take your app back to the drawing board, and don't return until each puzzle has exactly one solution.


Verdict: -8/5. Do not get this app until it has updated accordingly.

(Note: if you would like me to review your Android puzzle app, please contact me at the email found in the About page.)