Thursday, January 4, 2018

Review: Pic-a-Pix Deluxe [Nintendo Switch eShop]


The Picross series has long been a staple of Nintendo systems in the portable space and with good reason, though it is conceptually a pretty simple game there’s something very soothing and satisfying to working out its pixel puzzles. At least in terms of when the puzzles are worked themselves the series has always been all about working in one color, whether that makes it easier or tougher would be subject to debate. If you’d been looking to settle this debate you need not look any further than Pic-a-Pic Deluxe.


Sporting over 300 total puzzles already, with more add-ons to come, Pic-a-Pix is loaded for bear with content. With 150 puzzles in classic black and white and another 150 in color with grids than range from 5 x 5 to 35 x 25 there’s also something for people of all skill levels. Even smaller puzzles can be a deductive reasoning mess depending on how they’re laid out but in general the large grids are quite an investment and that makes them all the more rewarding. In general the interface and JoyCon controls work intuitively, with you able to quickly cycle colors, mark, erase, and X out squares as you work through figuring out your pixel art masterpiece.

In terms of what the game does a bit differently on the Switch there are two features of note: Local multiplayer support for up to 4 people and touchscreen support in handheld mode. Though I’d consider them both a good effort, and potentially a plus for some, in general I didn’t find either practical for my tastes. Multiplayer for this sort of game could possibly work for people who can collaborate well but for me I found it was just a distraction even with 1 extra person, with a total of 4 I’d imagine it would be utter anarchy. Touchscreen control does work, and I’m not positive it could be more effectively implemented than it has been, but once you take into account cycling colors I actually found working in docked mode with the controller to be more quick and efficient.


With regards to downsides there’s not generally too much to the game and its gameplay so the concerns are limited. One problem I did encounter on the game’s largest puzzles were occasional performance hitches, I assume from the game doing a scan of the current state of all of the pixels on the screen. It’s only on the largest puzzles I noticed this, and it isn’t too bad, but it was something I couldn’t help but notice. Aside from that, as is always the case for games like this, there were some pixel puzzles that didn’t look too much like that they were meant to represent so completing the puzzle was odd, but this only tended to be on very small puzzles and representing them with a limited number of pixels and colors is understandably a challenge.

What it will all boil down to with Pic-a-Pix Deluxe is whether you’re a big fan of this style of puzzle game or not. If you’ve consistently enjoyed the Picross series, or games like it, there’s seemingly nothing here to hold you back. If nothing else the variety of having both traditional black and white puzzles mixed with multi-color puzzles really changes up the challenge and makes for some great variety. If you love a good puzzle game the planned continued support for the this on top of the already-substantial base of 300 puzzles to start should make it a good investment.


Score: 8

Pros:
  • With 300 puzzles ranging from small and simple to large and complex there’s something for everyone
  • Planned continuing support with more puzzles available in the future
  • Support for both touchscreen play and multiplayer, though I personally didn’t prefer either

Cons:
  • Some noticeable slowdown periodically with the largest puzzles
  • If you’ve never seen the appeal in this sort of game this makes no substantial changes to the formula

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