Piczle Colors (Switch) Review

Pick a Piczle of Picross

One of my favorite aspects of the Nintendo Switch is its portable mode, which lends itself for relaxing puzzle games. Piczle Colors is the latest puzzler from the creators behind Piczle Lines DX. The game is a variation of Picross, a type of brainteaser where you use numerical clues to complete a picture crossword.

Here’s my Video Review for your viewing pleasure!

The objective of each puzzle is simple: color in every square on a grid to form a pixelated picture. You do so by following corresponding clues to determine what color goes in each square. As an example, if a row in a 10×5 grid had a blue number 8, you’d know that eight out of the ten boxes in that row are blue, but you wouldn’t necessarily know which ones. You’d also have to consider what colors go in that row’s remaining two boxes. If you’re used to the original black-and-white Picross puzzles, then the addition of color enhances depth.

Piczle Colors Switch Review Puzzle.jpg
I imagine this is what Splatoon Inklings play when they’re not busy in Turf Wars.

A couple of additional rules change up the standard formula, for better or for worse. First, as opposed to traditional Picross, each individual box must be filled in – no gaps allowed. As a plus, this leads to more colorful pictures in the end, as strange-looking they may be.

What legitimately confused me was how the game provided clues. The numbers in each row and column don’t indicate what order the colors appear. For example, let’s take a column with a white number 1 on top, a black number 4 beneath it, and a purple number 5 on the bottom. You might assume that you would paint in those colors from top to bottom in that order. However, that would be wrong, as the clues only indicate how many of each color without specifying order or placement. This system makes sense since giving away the order would make the puzzles too easy, but it’s hard as a player to translate clue to solution.

Piczle Colors Review Puzzle.jpg
Totally making a Castlevania enemy here.

To add a layer of confusion, there’s a rule that there must be a gap in-between colors. So in my earlier example, you couldn’t have five purple blocks in a row. There needs to be at least one gap to split them… unless there is a circle surrounding the number. In this case, the inverse is true; the color blocks must touch. It’s hard to manually process this information given the clue presentation, and it only gets more convoluted as the grid sizes grow. The idea is to use process of elimination to correctly fill in the grid, but there were times when I couldn’t decipher the one correct answer from an array of seemingly plausible solutions. There is a crutch in the form of a random hint that you can activate before starting a puzzle. The game picks a spot and fills in the surrounding row and column, which helps immensely, especially for the larger grids where it can be difficult to find a starting point.

Another odd design choice is that clues disappear once you’ve filled in the necessary quota. While this helped me eliminate possibilities and keep track of which colors remained, one big drawback is that the disappearing clues don’t necessarily indicate you’re correct. A dreaded “X” will show if you’ve made a mistake. Problem was I often had no idea how to fix my errors because the clues weren’t on-screen anymore. I would have to erase colors just so the number clues would return, which disrupted my flow and progress. I would have preferred some way to keep track of my completed clues but prevent them from disappearing.

Piczle Colors Review Panda.jpg
PANDAAAAA!

The game has a high learning curve, but once I got the hang of it, I found myself having fun. It’s not as easy to jump into as standard Picross or other similar titles, but it’s enjoyable to dive deep into each puzzle. After you complete a certain number in one set, you unlock a harder set, and so on. There are 300 puzzles – a good amount of playtime considering the more difficult ones may take at least a half hour to solve. You can suspend progress and come back to a puzzle at any time, though the menu bizarrely doesn’t show you which puzzles you’ve paused. As a side nitpick, why can’t I press the B button to back out of a menu? Depending on your progress, you can also unlock extras, with my favorite being 3D model trophies similar to Super Smash Bros., showcasing upgraded versions of the series’ cute mascots.

Control was most comfortable using the Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode and touch screen. It may be tough to accurately color the small squares without a stylus, but the game thankfully has an option to prevent you from painting over already filled-in areas. The simple interface made it easy to focus on the grid, although it was hard to distinguish colors when they were similar to each other or the background. A helpful visual aid highlights your current color and curves the grid squares, which may assist those with color blindness. The slow, jazz lounge music is a perfect fit for mellow puzzle-solving, and it rarely got old despite the limited soundtrack.

Piczle Colors Switch Review.jpg
At least this game has trophies… Looking at you Super Smash Bros. Ultimate…

Conclusion

Piczle Colors helped me to see that puzzles can live or die based on how they present clues to the player. Although the clue system conveys enough information to help players eliminate incorrect answers, the presentation and odd choices (such as disappearing clues) led to more confusion than I would have liked. I still enjoyed the brainteasers, but it’s harder to jump in than other variations of Picross. Fans of cerebral logic puzzles like Sudoku may like this take on the picture crossword formula, provided they have the patience to master Piczle Colors’ unique intricacies.

Score: 6/10

Note: A review copy was used for this article.

What do you think of Piczle Colors? What are your favorite Picross titles? What are your favorite puzzle games? Please share your thoughts or questions in the comments section below! Thank you so much for reading and watching!

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13 thoughts on “Piczle Colors (Switch) Review

  1. Nice colorful review! I’m not really into puzzle games or Picross, so I probably wouldn’t play Piczle Colors first. I much prefer RPGs–and recently Metroidvanias–to simple brain teasers. That being said, I see what you’re saying about confusing clues. It’s a shame that the clues vanish on you while you still need them. And I can’t tell what the pictures are supposed to be. I know they’re pixelated but I feel like I’m better at figuring out 8-Bit lol. I don’t think I’ll be checking out this game anytime soon. But your review was great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for your kind and colorful comments! I truly appreciate your support and encouragement as always! 😀 I like Picross, and I think the addition of color in Piczle Colors is great, but it’s not as easy to relax to after a long day, due to the clue system. I still was able to get into it, but it’s definitely not for everyone, especially with other picross and puzzle games around, including the developers’ previous Piczle Lines DX. Pic-a-Pix Deluxe is also another one that I enjoyed. It’s more like standard Picross but with the color theme, and the people behind that game are actually credited in Piczle Colors!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The rules of this are a little confusing, but I like the concept. Also, I can see this being a good use of the Switch’s portable functionality, as it seems like it’d be a fun time waster. For me, a puzzle game lives or dies by its sideline mascots though, and Dr. Mario and Bust-A-Move dinosaurs these are not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha yes! I love your puzzle game criteria! I sure would have never touched a Puyo Puyo game as a kid, but Nintendo wisely rebranded the game as Kirby’s Avalanche. Kirby was definitely their go-to for puzzles that needed mascots. I also love Tetris Attack for having Yoshi and Pokémon Puzzle League for slapping anime characters on it, as if they have any canon place in actual games. No, Ash, you couldn’t possibly be better than Brock in a puzzle game. By the way, the Bust-a-Move/Bubble Bobble dinosaurs for Smash? I think it’s finally their time to “bust into the fight.”

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  3. I’m so addicted to this game. I’m finding it heard to NOT tear myself away from my computer so I can keep playing it. That being said, I have to agree with you about the color thing. Some of them are WAY too close to the other, and I’ll mix them up. I have pretty good color differentiation skills, at least I do according to those random tests on line lol, but I’ve picked the wrong one at a glance. I know they did it to add shading and nuance to some of the final pictures, but I wish they’d found a better way to differentiate.

    I’m hoping they’ll add more puzzles at some point. I’m almost done the second to last level o.O

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome to hear you’re enjoying the game so much! I think you play other Picross games too, right? The color thing bugged me, but I do think that the way clues are presented confused me much more than how they are in other similar Picross games like Pic-a-Pix Deluxe or Mario’s Picross. Whoa, you’re almost done! I think the developers will add puzzles eventually. They added a bunch of extra puzzles to a previous game Piczle Lines DX and even released a standalone expansion Piczle Lines 500 More Puzzles, so we may see Piczle Colors 500 More Puzzles one day!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I finished it! They have a randomizer so you can replay puzzles without knowing, which makes it replayable. There’s also a way to just have random colors, which is WAY hard. Oddly I find this one less confusing than the other games o.O I had a heck of a time with one of them. There’s a Mario Picross??? I’l have to check that one out. I hope they do release more puzzles!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Awesome, congratulations!!! You’re a Piczle Colors master! I’m glad you found this one less confusing than others, even with the random colors option. My brain is so hard coded to standard Picross that the clues here felt foreign to me. Similar things happened for me and the Pac-Man Championship Edition games, which are really different. I think the Picross 3D games confuse me too, perhaps more haha. Mario’s Picross is an older one for the Game Boy, but it’s available on 3DS Virtual Console. It was my first Picross game!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I just saw the 500 download for it the other day, but my connection was being wonky so I wasn’t able to do it. There’s definitely a different mindset to the colors than to the others. It’s weird though because I generally don’t even see the picture until I finish the puzzle!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’m the same way with these pixel picture puzzles. It’s rare when I can finish a picture by knowing what it is beforehand. Usually, I don’t even figure out what the picture is until the description spells it out for me haha!

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