If you’re a fan of Picross, or nonogram puzzles, then you’ll find a fair few within the library of the Nintendo Switch. For me, personally, they are my favourite sort of puzzles, their style sitting perfectly within a digital platform. They’re also a bit of niche product, with some gamers either loving or hating them, but you can’t deny that they offer a nice, relaxing break from the norm that is often associated with video gaming; plus they’re educational too, keeping your brain active with their conundrums of numbers and grids. I’m always on the lookout for new Picross games and the latest title to have caught my eye, comes in the form of DevHour Games’ Depixtion as it plots a graph onto the Nintendo Switch.
It must be a difficult prospect for the developers of such games to find something new to bring to the table. When it comes to Depixtion, it largely stays safe within the boundaries of other, similar, games that have come before it. It contains increasingly challenging puzzles. Check. Its grids increase in size. Check. Its solutions all add to build a picture. Check. And it adds a splash of colour. Check. However, what this game does bring isn’t necessarily something new, but it’s certainly something different; by mixing the layers of primary colours that is uses to produce a picture and mixing them. In explanation, each puzzle is built from layers of primary colours, when completed they all combine to produce one picture, but when red mixes with yellow, the corresponding tile turns orange. Voila!
As well as this, the puzzles also contain various shades of the same colour. For instance, light red and dark red, light blue and dark blue. This in turn adds an extra dimension to how you go about solving each puzzle. As with any Picross puzzle, you are presented with a grid and a numerical value that represents the number of squares that need to be filled within the grid. In this case though, you are presented with numbers in various shades, therefore, each shade of number must be coloured correspondingly. It sound slightly complicated on paper, but in practice, it’s sublimely easy to get to grips with, with three layers of primary colours, a control scheme that easily switches between shades and a mechanic that blends all of its components together to produce a finished article, or picture.
There’s plenty to do here too, with over three hundred individual puzzles to solve, across a variety of grids that range from 4×4, 8×8, 12×12, 16×16, 20×20 and finishing with the brain busting, 24×24. Depixtion does a great job of easing you in gently, although admittedly, the earlier levels present a finished picture that aren’t always immediately clear in what they represent. However, the further you progress, the more detailed the pictures become, leading to some nicely crafted and colourful imagery. Each puzzle is also timed, not in a way that forces you to be on your toes, but in a way that presents you with an overall record should you want to go back and beat your own personal bests.
Everything within the game is kept simple and minimalistic, although that doesn’t mean it doesn’t present a good challenge. Veterans will take to its style like a duck to water, but beginners will also find its friendly style to their liking, offering a good starting point to players new the picross style. Its menus and artworks are minimal and easy to navigate. Its control scheme is easy to learn and constantly presented on-screen should you need a reminder. It brings a nice feel of being streamlined to the overall level of play and control and the individual layers that you build keep you guessing to the very end, when all the layers blend together to reveal the final image.
Overall, Depixtion is simply a game that does exactly what you expect from it. It presents a series of interesting Picross puzzles to work through, but adds an extra element with its layering of colours to bring something, just a little different to the show. It has a very relaxing way about it, from its simplicity in use to its ambient soundtracks, making it a more pleasurable experience, yet one that holds a very satisfying level of challenge to it. For its pocket-money pricing, you get a nice amount of content here and is certainly a title that will last over the long-term; although that’s also dependent on how often you play and how quickly you can work though each puzzle. For me though, it’s always a nice way to end the day, relaxed, calm and being educated all at the same time and for that experience alone, makes it a worthwhile investment.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
Depixtion presents a great depiction of Picross puzzles across three layers of primary colours to mix things up.