Nurikabe Vault Review

Nurikabe Vault LogoNurikabe Vault is one of the best executed independent iPhone/iPod Touch titles that Game Forward has come across in some time. Containing 500 hand-made puzzles and a highly polished presentation, the game was single-handedly developed by Rogers George.

Nurikabe is a Japanese number-based puzzle game created by Nikoli Corp., the inventors of Sudoku. It can best be described as a mixture of Go and Minesweeper, in which players are presented with a board containing various numbers. Each digit represents the number of spaces that make up the pieces of the puzzle. To complete the puzzle, you must build up each piece correctly so that they are separated by a continuous wall of blank spaces. Read More…

Nurikabe Vault is Less Complicated than it Looks and SoundsThe pieces can touch diagonally, but in no other way. Additionally, walls can never be more than a single space wide and there is only one solution for each puzzle. An effective tutorial will help you grasp these notions. To help lead players in the right direction, pieces or walls containing mistakes will also shake on the screen. The Nurikabe Vault website also has detailed strategies to assist you.

The game is broken up into five worlds, each containing 100 puzzles. Each world presents players with a different-sized board, going from 6x6 tiles up to 9x11. All five worlds are unlocked from the start and can be accessed by dragging your finger horizontally on the first puzzle wheel. To select a specific puzzle number, you spin the number on the desired wheel.

Nurikabe Vault grants players unlimited undos and the ability to clear the board and reset the clock. Time-based high scores are saved for each puzzle which can be uploaded to online leaderboards integrated through OpenFeint. The game also includes six achievements.

Each world is individually designed with attractive and soothing patterns. With its mesmerizing and subtly animated backgrounds, the game sucked me in for hours at a time. Nurikabe Vault can easily be played while listening to music since it contains barely any audio.

The main drawback I came across was that as you advance through the worlds, control becomes increasingly constricted. While using your finger to select tiles is simple and straightforward in the earlier worlds, this becomes more difficult as the tiles are made smaller to accommodate the larger boards. However, at a $4 price point, the 500 hand-crafted puzzles in Nurikabe Vault represent great value and should be a sure hit with those who enjoy traditional puzzle games.


- Plenty of Addictive Gameplay
- Beautiful Presentation
- Wide Range of Difficulty


- Control Issues on Larger Boards

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Game Forward Score: 4/5

Nathalie Caron > Game Forward


Nurikabe Vault (iPhone/iPod Touch) Quick Facts:

Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Rogers George
Publisher: Rogers George
Release Date: Jan 11, 2010 (v1.0.1)
Price: $3.99 US/CAN
iTunes Rating: 4+