Nonogram puzzles have been gaining a lot of traction in the past few years, with more and more casual players finding different outlets to quench their thirst to train their brains. If you’re not familiar with nonogram puzzles, imagine the offspring of a Sudoku puzzle and a paint-by-numbers picture; the combination of both is a puzzle where the player must use a complex process of elimination and critical thinking to complete a pixelated picture. Each puzzle starts with a blank grid with numbers listed on both the top and left sides. Using the numbers, the goal is to figure out where each pixel is located on the grid. It’s a great game to exercise your intellect and burn a few minutes at the same time.
Pic-a-Pix Pieces is a pretty simple game; it boasts over 300 different puzzle grids with more available for download. Each smaller grid makes up part of a larger picture, so every puzzle you solve completes a piece to a bigger puzzle. This makes finishing puzzles even more satisfying! There are 20 larger pictures to complete, so Pic-a-Pix Pieces will keep you busy with nonogram puzzles for a long time.
There is a really handy tutorial on the main menu of the game; I already knew how to play nonogram puzzles before picking this up, but it was very easy to understand and explained how to complete the puzzles in very simple terms. For me, one of the hardest parts of nonogram puzzles was getting started! Once you’ve got the rhythm down, they are a lot of fun to complete – and you can spend as much or as little time as you want on them. Pic-a-Pix Pieces offers a save feature so you can pick up where you left off on any unfinished puzzle.
The design of Pic-a-Pix Pieces is super clean and user-friendly. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles, so this would be a great game for a beginner or someone who isn’t fond of a lot of extras in their puzzle games. My only gripe with the game is the incredibly repetitive 8-Bit style music; it is the same theme song if you’re in the main menu, choosing a grid, or playing a grid. I found myself turning the background music off very quickly as it became borderline distracting as I was trying to work on puzzles. I would love to see this game with a more relaxing style of music to aid in concentration.
The puzzle tools are easy to manoeuvre, and the touchscreen of the Nintendo Switch makes for an even easier experience. Touching the actual pixels in the grid is a little difficult since they’re so small, but I often times used the touchscreen to change colours or toggle between the other tools. They’re all located at the left side of the screen, so I would move the cursor with the right JoyCon and select colours and tools with my left thumb on the touchscreen.
Each grid is timed, so there is a ton of replayability in trying to beat your old score on puzzles you’ve completed before. You can also toggle between coloured pixels or “colourblind mode” which creates a nonogram puzzle out of just black and white pixels (these are more difficult). You can also toggle the clue marking on and off – clue marking is a really helpful way to eliminate possible spaces on the grid and makes the whole thing a lot easier to solve. There are tons of ways to complete each puzzle, so you really get your money’s worth out of the game.
The only thing I would have liked to have seen are some set goals, like completing 50 puzzles, solving a black and white puzzle, solving a puzzle in under three minutes, and so on. I feel like this would really give the game a lot more purpose and add some competitiveness to the gameplay. Using these goals to unlock new puzzles would have been an awesome addition.
All in all, Pic-a-Pix Pieces is an awesome user friendly game for those of us who are more interested in casual gaming and fun puzzlers. A clean layout and a ton of different puzzles to complete make this game one I’ll be coming back to regularly when my brain needs a workout!
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*