Sudoku Traveler: China

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Since its rise to popularity in 2005, the number game Sudoku has produced an overwhelming array of addicts. And last week, when National Geographic Games’s new online game, Sudoku Traveler: China, hit the market, I joined the ranks of happily addicted Sudoku players. After all, the only thing better than losing yourself in a game for a half hour or so is losing yourself in a game that transports you to a place like China via National Geographic photographs.

Sudoku Traveler: China allows you to choose from hundreds of Sudoku puzzles (with adjustable difficulty levels) that are set against images of China from over 20 of its most popular sites. Each time you successfully complete a puzzle, more images (in the form of backgrounds and screensavers) are unveiled on your screen–gradually leading you on a tour through China. The details of your travels are logged in a Travelogue area, which also feeds you bits of information and history on the ground you’ve covered.

I recently sat down to take my first stab at the game (starting at the easiest level, of course) and after five minutes I was hooked. The fusion of visual, mental, and auditory (there’s relaxing Chinese music playing in the background) stimulation was effective enough to make me forget I was in an office building–or that I still had loads of work to tackle. Check it out for yourself here, where you’re granted an hour of free playing time and then given the option to purchase the game. Enjoy!