Piczle Lines DX (Switch eShop)
Many will know Picross as an addictive puzzle that is much better in digital form than in its original pen & paper incarnation. Piczle Lines is based on something very similar. The goal is to connect dots of the same number and color to form a complete picture. Naturally, it's not about straight lines, but rather lots of curved connections that require basic logic to fill out the whole grid flawlessly. It's not as demanding as Picross, but scratches the itch for picture puzzles nonetheless.
Piczle Lines DX is free on mobile, but $/€15 on Switch. But before anyone gets upset, there's merely a different payment model in play and I personally greatly prefer the approach of having to pay only once. The free version on mobile comes with 80 puzzles and additional packs cost between 1-4 bucks. On Switch you get 320 puzzles plus free updates. At the time of this writing, the developer has already made an additional 120 puzzles available, bringing the total to 440. Puzzle sizes cover the range from 12x12 to 128x128. A giant puzzle takes about two hours to complete and they are rather tedious because the numbers you deal with tend to be 10 or lower whereas smaller puzzles are more common to feature numbers in the range of 11-20 and are therefore more interesting.
On the plus side there is a quickly understood train of logic. The different colors segregrate the grid into smaller portions, so if you committed a mistake, it's bound to have occured in the area where things don't go together anymore instead of being basically anywhere on the grid. The enormous amount of puzzles will last you a long time, making Piczle Lines DX a good investment that you can come back for many, many months, if not years. The available demo features 20 puzzles, a big enough sample size to make sure whether or not you like the concept before you pay. The progress of puzzles can be saved at any time and for an unlimited amount of puzzles, so you can work on as many puzzles concurrently as you wish.
On the negative side, a score of 7 is pretty much as good as it can get for a game like this, because the concept itself isn't as high quality as Picross. The graphics could have used black font for the numbers on particularly pale or especially bright colors, because in those instances they are really hard to read. The music would be bearable in a different kind of game, but in something like this you want something more relaxing instead of a constantly hammering bassdrum.
|Controls||10||The d-pad controls are a bust, but analog stick and
touch controls work as they should.
|Gameplay||Connect dots that sport the same numbers and colors.
The successful result are pictures.
|Story||Silly and short, neither memorable or intrusive.
It's not like it matters in such a game anyway.
|Single-player||Hundreds of puzzles in greatly varying sizes,
sorted by different categories.
|Graphics||Mostly clean, but occasionally there are puzzles that use
bright neon colors and the font is white, so it's hard on the eyes.
|Sound||It's not possible to choose between music tracks. Everything
has too much bassdrum and loops quite fast. Turn it off.
|Value||320 puzzles in the base game that should take well over
80 hours to complete.
|Replay Value||The puzzles itself don't invite for replays, but the developer
promises numerous free updates.
|Score||7||The concept is not as high quality as Picross, but Piczle Lines
is an alternative to consider during the wait for more Picross.