A Picross-like game that actually impresses me? What crazy world have I gone to now?!
As a Picross fanatic, I devoured every single puzzle in both the 2D and 3D iterations of the games. They are great fun, packed with mood-lightening heart. Over the years, many games have tried to replicate the same style, mostly to lackluster response. So yeah, I wasn't exactly pumped to play Pic-a-Pix Deluxe on Switch. Pic-a-Pix Deluxe is more than just an adequate Picross-like; it offers a grander challenge than a regular 2D Picross title.
If you have ever played a Picross game before, the basics are the same. You have to line up the vertical and horizontal rows, fill in spots on the playing field, and slowly create a picture. This can be a struggle early, but progress helps fill in the gaps. The twist that Pic-a-Pix Deluxe presents is simple but surprising. By adding colors in the mix, you create a more intriguing solution and something with a bit of detail.
Rows are now a lot harder to place. In regular Picross, it is easy to see the gap between the numbers. With the introduction of color, the location of a certain color adds a tricky twist, as now there is no guaranteed gap between numbers. Placing blocks now require more checks and balances, or else a singular misinterpreted gap could send your whole puzzle off the rails. It created a different kind of Picross game that is quite novel.
Pic-a-Pix offers a solid variety of puzzles with which you can spend a solid few hours. More puzzles will come as downloadable content, which can be purchased on the Nintendo Switch eShop. This will see previously released content from the Nintendo 3DS version as well as brand new content. Considering the original release got a lot of love, I am pretty sure that I will continue to be entertained for a while longer.
Despite the wonders of the mechanical twists, I found some of the finer background details lacking. The background music is not all that great. The soundtrack mostly sticks to one song, and I almost immediately turned it off. Other than that, you need to get the hang of the interface. With so much extra going on screen, it can feel a little cluttered now and again. This is nothing you would get used to in time, mind you.
Overall though, Pic-a-Pix Deluxe is a grand time. The puzzles are incredibly fair and it helps that the unique twists are actually really clever. The UI can sometimes be clumsy, but those problems disappear with familiarity. The sharp and crafty puzzles are appealing and worth the hurdle of the interface. It is really the biggest compliment I can give.