A perfectly playable Picross proxy.
Pic-a-Pix Pieces is yet another pack of nonogram puzzles on Nintendo Switch. Nonograms— best known to some as Picross puzzles—are somewhere between a crossword puzzle, sudoku, and a coloring book. Each puzzle is a grid of squares with numbers on the side representing how many squares in each row must be filled in. Logically working out which squares must be filled in and which ones can’t be filled in will eventually lead you to a finished picture where every row has exactly the number of squares it should.
Nonograms are overall pretty simple. There’s not a lot you can do to shake up the formula, so the most unique thing that Pic-a-Pix brings to the table is its use of colors. While most nonogram games stick to monochromatic designs that have color added after they’ve been solved, Pic-a-Pix’s puzzles have multiple colors assigned to each group of squares. Though the difference is pretty subtle in practice, being able to place different colored squares directly next to each other does manage to set Pic-a-Pix apart from other nonogram games at least a little bit.
This isn’t an entirely new concept—color nonograms have been around for a long time—but there really isn’t much else worth noting. Each puzzle is presented very plainly, and while multiple puzzles eventually add up to a literal bigger picture, the process of filling in that pixel art is very plain. There are no bells and whistles; the interface is clean to the point of being sterile. There’s no sleek animation of a finished puzzle coming to life, and the music is too grating to listen to for more than a couple minutes. Developer Lightwood Games has captured all the substance of Picross without any of the style or soul.
Despite the barren presentation, it’s still pretty tough to put Pic-a-Pix down. The nonograms in this game are pretty well-designed and present a decent challenge without getting too frustrating. You start simple with 10x10 grids and eventually work your way up to complex 20x20 grids. There are hundreds of puzzles to fill out, so at the very least Pic-a-Pix manages to offer a fairly solid experience. If you’re not looking for anything fancy and just want some nonograms to pass the time, you can’t go wrong here.
Nonograms are a lot like pizza; even the worst nonograms are still pretty good. If I want some cheap food that I know I’ll like without having to worry, I’ll have some pizza. If I want to sit down and spend some time on a puzzle game that I know will hold my attention, I’ll play nonograms. But where Picross is like the local pizza place that really cares about giving you the best slice around, Pic-a-Pix Pieces is more like the college food court that you only eat at when you’re in between classes and short on time. It’s still good, and I still recommend it, but there are other people out there putting a lot more time and effort into making this exact product.