Piczle Lines DX (Switch) Review

Picture Puzzle Pixel Perfect

The Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode is one of my favorite aspects about the system, and the puzzle genre is one of the easiest to play portably. While faster match-three games like Puyo Puyo Tetris are already on the market, I also like to sit down and play slower brain teasers to stimulate my mind. Score Studios and Rainy Frog’s Piczle Lines DX scratches that cerebral itch.

Check out the Video Version for a closer look at how the puzzles play!

The premise looks deceptively simple. Numbered, colored circles are scattered on a square grid. Your goal is to draw lines between two circles matching in both number and color. For example, a black circle with the number 4 connects to another black 4, but not to a black 7 or to a grey 4. Additionally, the number signifies how many grid squares the line covers. Going back to the previous example, a black 4 can only be connected to another black 4 that is exactly four squares away. You can format lines in any horizontal or vertical orientation, as long as they follow those rules. The simplest control scheme is to draw lines using the Switch’s touch screen, but you can also use a controller; a cursor appears and can hold down a button to create connections. It’s somewhat awkward, but it worked better than I had assumed, thanks to the magnified display. However you approach it, once you match every circle to a corresponding partner, you complete the puzzle, which like in the game Picross, forms a colorful pixelated picture.

Piczle Lines DX Nintendo Switch Review How to Play.jpg
Use the Fours, Luke.

This is more than a simple game of connect-the-dots. You can only finish by fully completing the grid, so how you draw the lines matters in the long run. If you connect two circles but end up blocking another line’s path, then you must rethink your strategy. The entire game is built upon pattern recognition – finding circles that can only connect one way, such as any with the number 2 on it or those separated by a straight line, and using them as guidelines to determine viable routes. This process of elimination strategy is part of what makes mind bogglers like Sudoku and Picross addictive. And in that same vein, Piczle Lines DX is filled with enlightening revelations and a constant sense of progress as you whittle down larger puzzles.

Piczle Lines DX Nintendo Switch Review Puzzle.jpg
Narrowing down pathways is key.

Speaking of puzzles, the game is filled to the brink with them. Puzzle Mode includes a whopping 220, with grid sizes ranging from 16×16 to the much more difficult 64×64. The larger grids can take upwards to a half hour to solve, and you don’t even want to imagine how long the massive 128×128 size dinosaur-themed pictures would take. Seriously, it takes an ice age just to finish one of these mammoths. I would have appreciated a timer to follow my progress, but the lack of one actually works well for the game’s slower pace. Therein lies the charm: just as it can be calming to work through a crossword book or a 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, it’s easy to relax with a single round of Piczle Lines.

There is also a Story Mode, believe it or not, featuring 100 more brain teasers that must be played in order. The plot is pure fluff and involves a girl pixelating an old scientist’s entire house, placing you in charge to complete picture puzzles to restore his furniture to normal. Does the story matter? No, but seeing your completed pictures materialize in the house is a nice touch that motivated me to play more.

Piczle Lines DX Nintendo Switch Review Story
The ridiculous story is told through adorable comic panels.

Gameplay can grow tiring after a while, though, since every challenge follows the same formula. It’s not as complex as Picross nor as fast-paced as other match-three games, and no picture is particularly memorable. Once you’ve seen one large grid, you’ve seen them all, which is why this game is best played in spurts. Promoting that pick-up-and-play mentality, the game saves your progress mid-puzzle, allowing you to exit midgame and return at any time to continue where you left off.

Piczle Lines DX Nintendo Switch Large Puzzle.jpg
Must…find…the…connections.

Still, there are so many puzzles that unless you grow addicted to the game, which I admit is possible, you likely won’t play them all. Consider then that publisher Rainy Frog has also released a free-to-play mobile version. It has a more limited number of brain teasers, but you can pick and choose which packs to purchase, if any. The final price is the same, too. If you bought every mobile pack, it would be equivalent to the $15 Switch version, but you’d miss out on the Switch’s upcoming free DLC puzzles that would cost money on iOS and Android. At the very least, the mobile version acts as a good demo.

Back to the Switch version, the presentation is simple, and everything is clearly outlined and easy to see. I appreciated how thoughtful the developers were, incorporating three different color-blind modes. The pixelated pictures are fun rewards for completing each grid, and the surrounding anime visuals are cute, simple and nonintrusive. What will grind your gears, however, is the repetitive music. The same one minute tune loops over and over, and it has already driven me crazy. There are only a couple different songs, and they’re annoying. Thank goodness you can turn the background music off.

Piczle Lines DX Nintendo Switch Picture Puzzle
Finally, a trophy for having a computer!

Conclusion

Piczle Lines DX does a fine job filling in the void that the Switch’s lack of Picross has left. The game presents a unique challenge of spatial awareness, while using simple concepts of color and number matching to make it easily approachable for anyone. Although the game eventually loses its luster over time, its sheer amount of 300+ puzzles will appeal to anyone who enjoys Sudoku or Picross.

Score 8/10

A review copy was provided by the publisher for this article.

What are your thoughts on Piczle Lines DX? What are your favorite puzzle games, whether on Switch or otherwise? Do you prefer slower, methodical puzzles or faster-paced match-three style games? Can you say “Picture Puzzle Pixel Perfect” 3x fast? Share any thoughts and questions you have in the comments section below! Thank you very much for reading and watching!

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27 thoughts on “Piczle Lines DX (Switch) Review

  1. What a picture puzzle pixel perfect review! And no, I can’t say it 3 times fast. This seems like a fun brain teaser game to pass the time. I’m not a big fan of doing random Sudoku or crossword puzzles myself, but the simple concepts here make this game appealing. I’d take a visual/spatial puzzle over math any day! It’s cute that the game tried to have some kind of story when they easily could have left that out. What’s also interesting is launching a mobile version alongside the console edition. Then again, a lot of console games seem to be adding mobile offshoots nowadays. I think I’d be overwhelmed by a 128×128 grid–my brain would FREEZE up! Harharhar. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much as always! 😀 I don’t think sudoku is math, per se, but I like those kinds of slow puzzles that make me feel relaxed but still manage to mentally stimulate me. The mobile version already existed at the time, I believe, and this Switch version is more of an edition that compiles all of the puzzle DLC packs in one package. The extra puzzles are a tipping point though. The 128×128 grid though… I don’t think I could look at a phone and concentrate long enough to handle one of those, so I’m thankful for the Switch version in that regard. Freeze. Oh you. I’m glad you liked that joke hahaha! And also the tongue twister! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can honestly say I didn’t know this was out there, and I am intrigued! The portability of the Switch (read – I can play it in bed before falling asleep) has by far made it my console of choice lately. I’ve also loved the Neo Geo ports all over the Nintendo Shop – and once Stardew Valley hits, I may never do anything else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome! I love playing Switch before bed. It sometimes makes it easier to fall asleep too. It depends what I’m playing, though. If I’m playing Splatoon 2, I will be too riled up to sleep. On the other hand, this kind of game is perfect for me to wind-down, and I’ve used it to do so already, haha.

      Have we added each other as friends yet? I don’t remember, but if not, I’d love to add you as a friend! Here’s my Switch Friend Code: SW-3611-4684-6706

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awesome, thanks! I added you back. 🙂 Let me know anytime you want to play any multiplayer game on Switch! I have Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, Splatoon 2, Puyo Puyo Tetris, and Street Fighter II among other multiplayer games.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well Mr. Panda, I officially pulled the trigger on this one, and I have you to thank for it! I have been looking for a puzzle fix for months now, and after retiring picrossE on the 3DS eShop (due to 80% of the game being too easy and feeling like busywork before they actually started to get challenging), and Piczle Lines DX is definitely what I was looking for. So, thank you for writing up this awesome review!

    One of my favorite things about it that captured what I was looking for was how satisfying it is to select the boxes. Sounds trivial and silly, but with PicrossE, you could hold a button and use the D-pad to quickly select/deselect boxes. It gave a weird sort of satisfying feedback, and Piczle Lines has exactly the same type of feel. Definitely feels good to play a more mental-stimulating type of game while relaxing at night. Thanks again! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Geddy! I’m so happy that my review could help you find a new game to enjoy! Isn’t it such a great feeling to find just the right game to scratch a certain itch? It’s awesome that Piczle Lines DX fulfilled that hole that PicrossE has left behind after retiring it. I get what you mean about holding a button and selecting/deselecting boxes. Even though you can use the touch screen in Piczle Lines DX, I’m content with using buttons to draw and redraw lines. It’s fun! And it’s a great game to pick up when you’re just trying to relax and unwind! I’m so delighted for you! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This definitely sounds like a lot of fun. It’s really simple, but that’s what makes it addicting. I love these kind of puzzle games. I probably wouldn’t be doing the full 300+ puzzles as I’d eventually burn myself out, but it’s certainly a great value for the price!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s very fun to play one or two puzzles every night, and I can see the humongous puzzles being fun multinight projects. I think this kind of game is easy to burn out on, especially if you play it a lot. At the moment, playing little by little has been a good way to wind down. It reminds me of when I would use to lay down and play Picross before bed!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s awesome! I’ll definitely have to check it out! I’m a fan of easygoing puzzle games to wind down before bed, so it sounds like a good fit. I still have to get through a lot of the puzzles in Piczle Lines DX, too, and there’s already DLC coming out. I’ll never catch up, haha.

        Like

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