There aren’t a lot of things on my ‘relaxation’ list. Shopping? Too many people. Sunbathing by the pool? That gets boring quickly. Puzzles though are way up there for me, particularly picross. Pic-a-Pix Colour definitely fits the bill for unwinding in the afternoon with a cup of tea.
These kind of games come along relatively infrequently, so it’s fair to say I was really looking forward to diving into Lightwood Games’ Pic-a-Pix. It does exactly as you would expect; it delivers fun and challenging puzzles, without a lot of trimmings.
The graphics are really very basic, but they do the job. Ultimately, we’re talking about screens that are mainly grids with numbers anyway, so there isn’t an awful lot of potential for anything particularly fancy. There’s a pixel art look to it, probably deliberate given the nature of the game. However, all those harsh and jagged lines weren’t particularly soothing to the eye.
I do feel that possibly a trick’s been missed here; this was released on the 3DS, but there aren’t any 3D effects used in the game (or certainly none that I could see). The pictures in the puzzles themselves? Well, they’re quite adorable, and there’s a decent variety too.
The music has a catchy, upbeat retro vibe which had me nodding my head along to it – for a while, anyway. A few puzzles in, I started to realise there was only one track. On a loop. That gets old very quickly. It wasn’t long before the sound got turned off for good; if there were any other tracks (and there didn’t seem to be) I didn’t hear them. The ‘whoosh’ sounds when filling in the grids were quite neat, though. Thankfully, there’s the option to turn off the background music but leave the other sounds on.
Pic-a-Pix is a picross game with the added twist that the clues are colour-based. If you’re not familiar with this kind of game, they’re logic puzzles; each has a grid at the centre. To the top and left are numbers which tell you how many blocks there are of each colour in the row/column, and in what sequence. You’re able to deduce from the numbers what colours need to go in which squares. A hidden, usually cute, picture is revealed as you progress. If you are indeed new to picross, you’ll find a decent set of instructions in this game on how to go about solving these brainteasers.
I thought it may be a little easier than black and white picross since you have the added dimension of colour to help you place the correct squares. However, it gets (suitably) challenging quite quickly. I didn’t feel the difficulty curve was exactly linear, although broadly speaking as you work your way through the game the puzzles become larger and take longer to complete.
The user interface for the largest puzzles is a bit problematic, no doubt due to the limitations of the 3DS; the uppermost clues somewhat clumsily spread into the top screen and the tools become squashed.
There are a number of features included which make playing a little easier. Firstly, the clues change to white once you have painted in those squares. It’s quite a forgiving game in that respect – you can leave that function on, and still get a medal for that puzzle. Secondly, there are highlighted guidelines to help you align the squares with the numbers – particularly useful on larger grids.
If you make it through the 150 included puzzles relatively quickly and want more, additional packs can be purchased.
It’s not the most polished picross game I’ve ever played, but if you’re looking to relax with some logic-based puzzles, this game absolutely does the job. It’s enjoyable, functional, and cute.
If you enjoy picross and you’re looking for more recommendations, then look no further.