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Review: Pic-a-Pix Deluxe

Looks like a lot of Nintendo Switch owners are fans of nonograms since the system has received another Picross-like game. Lightwood Games has recently released a so-called ‘ultimate edition’ of Pic-a-Pix on the Switch, called Pic-a-Pix Deluxe. This version is basically Pic-a-Pix Color, which was a 3DS and WiiU title, with some added features.

Should you be wondering what nonograms are, then allow me to give you a quick rundown of how these puzzles work. A nonogram consists out of multiple cells in a grid which must either be colored or left blank according to a set amount of numbers that are displayed at the sides of the grid. The numbers measure how many unbroken lines of filled-in squares there are in any given row or column. For example, a clue of “4 3” in a row of eight cells indicates that there’s a set of four and three connected cells with one cell left blank in between. Classic nonograms are black and white, but there are also colored ones, which tend to be more difficult due to the increased amount of possible solutions. Once you’ve successfully filled in a nonogram, a picture will be revealed.

The main menu comes with a short tutorial on how to play the game
Should you forget the rules of puzzles like these, you can always check the tutorial in the main menu

Now, what exactly does Pic-a-Pix Deluxe has to offer to those who are familiar with nonograms? Well, this game comes with 150 colored and 150 black and white puzzles. These puzzles incrementally increase in difficulty. The first puzzles consist out of a mere 25 cells and slowly increase to a whopping 875. Each individual puzzle displays it’s own unique image once they’re solved. The images are nothing special or even satisfying as a reward, but then again, there’s only so much you can do with a few pixels. But these pictures are not the only reward you’ll get. Every solved puzzle will display a medal that ranks your time spent on it. These medals are quite forgiving, so earning gold medals won’t be a problem in most of the puzzles. By the way, should you get this game, then let me inform you that the black and white puzzles are hidden in the ‘Extra’ menu instead of ‘Play’, which can be confusing at first.

The medals encourage you to solve puzzles as quick as possible
The medals encourage you to solve puzzles as quick as possible

Pic-a-Pix Deluxe also features touch-based controls that can be used in the Switch’s handheld mode. While this is certainly a welcome addition, I have to mention that the bigger puzzles are quite difficult to fill in with these controls. The small size of the cells combined with the 720p display of the Switch makes it almost impossible to accurately select the cell you want to color. This can be fixed by utilizing a touchscreen pencil but since the Switch lacks one, you’ll have to buy a separate one if you’d like to play the game like this. Luckily, the Joy-Cons control scheme is easy to use so it’s not that big of an issue.

The final puzzles are quite challenging
The final puzzles are almost impossible to solve with the touchscreen controls

Surprisingly, Pic-a-Pix Deluxe also comes with a multiplayer mode, which lets you solve puzzles with the help of up to three other people. It’s not the first Picross-like game to offer a mode like this, but it’s still not a prominent feature in most titles. Trying to solve a puzzle with someone else can be irritating sometimes, especially if the other person is constantly messing up your cells while trying to fill in his. However, once you start to work as a team, it becomes a nice extra layer of difficulty and challenge. Keep in mind, though, that the multiplayer is local only.

Multiplayer can be frustrating at times, but it's still a nice addition
Multiplayer can be frustrating at times, but it’s still a nice addition

Conclusion

While Pic-a-Pix Deluxe offers some good additional features, the base game is still the same as any other nonogram puzzle game. This is not a bad thing but it makes it difficult to recommend it to puzzle enthusiasts who’ve played other nonogram games like Picross S. It’s a solid Picross-like game, but that’s all it is.

6,5/10

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