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Depixtion is a colourful twist on the Picross formula

Depixtion brings colourful conundrums to the Nintendo Switch in a clever twist on the Picross formula.

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Depixtion - Nintendo Switch
Depixtion

Depixtion brings colourful conundrums to Nintendo Switch in a well-executed twist of the Picross formula.

Whether you call them nonograms, griddlers or Picross, there’s nothing quite like the calming methodical process of gradually deciphering discrete tomography pixel puzzles.

Picross games have been a mainstay on Nintendo systems since Japanese studio Jupiter released Mario Picross on the Game Boy in 1995. In recent years, Jupiter has hit fine form with a series of Picross games for the Nintendo 3DS and Switch, Concpetis has released is own range of picture puzzles, and Mediatonic is combining nonograms with a detective noir thriller for the upcoming Murder by Numbers.

Before then, DevHour games is bringing its take on the format to Switch. Depixtion comes to the Nintendo eShop this week following a Steam debut last year.

Depixtion features 96 puzzles to solve using traditional Picross logic deduction, but with a colourful twist. Each puzzle consists of three separate coloured layers. Only when each layer is solved do the colours blend and the underlying solution reveal itself. It’s a neat idea and the layered approach effectively triples the number of puzzles to nearly 300.

Depixtion - Nintendo Switch

This clever approach to a timeworn formula is backed by top-notch puzzle design throughout. The colour mechanics also make the game feel tangibly different from Jupiter’s popular series.

The change certainly makes for a more rapidly challenging gameplay experience. Working with multiple layers means that the target image is much harder to identify, and although the first group of 4×4 puzzles are a breeze to solve, it doesn’t take long for the game to show its true colours. Once you reach the 24×24 size grids, be prepared for some serious head-scratching.

The game does have a few rough edges, but it’s a lack of refinement rather than anything game-breaking. One example is the colour choices for each puzzle’s number indicators, where a little more clarity and contrast would help to improve readability. There are no complaints about the music, however. Shane Minetta’s soundtrack is a gentle, soothing accompaniment to the crunch of gears grinding inside my head.

Depixtion - Nintendo Switch

The game is all the more impressive for being the studio’s first release. Depixtion grew from a prototype developed by studio co-founders Christopher Baracani and Nicholas Jones and the result comfortably stands toe-to-toe with other puzzlers from Jupiter and Conceptis.

Unfortunately, Depixtion is exactly the sort of game that gets lost in the weekly shuffle of new Nintendo eShop releases. So, if you’re a fan of the genre, this perfectly formed package of picture puzzles is one to look out for.

Depixtion is released on the Nintendo Switch eShop on February 28, 2020 and is priced at $7.99.


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Save up to 85% with this week’s new Xbox One deals

Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 headline the latest crop of Xbox One digital game store discounts.

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Xbox Deal with Gold
Microsoft

Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 headline the latest crop of Xbox One digital game store discounts.

There are just two sales on Xbox One this week, but both have a few games worth picking up at bargain prices.

Capcom’s Resident Evil 3 remake is released this Friday, but it’s unlikely to top last year’s stunning update of RE2 which is reduced by 50% on Xbox One. Devil May Cry 5 is also half-price and well worth checking out if you missed it on release.

Other recommended sale titles include Risk of Rain 2Iconoclasts, Don’t Starve Together, and two bundles that bring together Three Fields Entertainment’s range of Dangerous Driving and Danger Zone games.

You can purchase the latest batch of discounted Xbox One games until April 7, 2020. Visit the Xbox One digital games store or the Microsoft online store for the full range of titles. Here’s the full lineup.

Deals with Gold

  • Agony – 80% off
  • Artifex Mundi Ultimate Collection – 50% off
  • Big Pharma – 30% off
  • Blacksad: Under the Skin – 50% off
  • Bleed 2 – 75% off
  • Call of Cthulhu – 75% off
  • Dead Island: Riptide Definitive Edition – 75% off
  • Decay of Logos – 25% off
  • Desert Child – 50% off
  • Don’t Starve Together: Console Edition – 60% off
  • Doodle God: Crime City – 50% off
  • Doom and Destiny – 35% off
  • Hellfront: Honeymoon – 75% off
  • Mordheim: City of the Damned – 75% off
  • Old Man’s Journey – 50% off
  • RICO – 25% off
  • Risk of Rain 1 + 2 Bundle – 40% off
  • Risk of Rain 2 – 40% off
  • Saints Row IV: Re-Elected – 75% off
  • Shikhondo – Soul Eater – 67% off
  • SolSeraph – 60% off
  • Space Hulk: Tactics – 75% off
  • The Sojourn – 33% off
  • The Technomancer – 75% off
  • Truck Driver – 25% off
  • We Happy Few – 70% off
  • We Happy Few Digital Deluxe – 70% off

Spotlight Sale Highlights

  • Accidents Will Happen Bundle – 60% off
  • AereA – 85% off
  • Albedo and the Cast Bundle – 80% off
  • Alvastia Chronicles – 40% off
  • Antiquia Lost – 30% off
  • Asdivine Hearts – 40% off
  • Bonds of the Skies – 40% off
  • Chronus Arc – 40% off
  • Devil May Cry 5 (With Red Orbs) – 50% off
  • DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition – 67% off
  • Fernz Gate – 40% off
  • Frane: Dragons’ Odyssey – 30% off
  • Iconoclasts – 60% off
  • Illusion of L’Phalcia – 30% off
  • Jydge – 60% off
  • Kona – 80% off
  • Lost Artifacts: Time Machine – 35% off
  • Mighty No. 9 – 80% off
  • Mulaka – 65% off
  • Resident Evil 2 – 50% off
  • Revenant Dogma – 40% off
  • Revenant Saga – 30% off
  • Shiny – 85% off
  • Ultimate Danger Bundle – 60% off
  • Wuppo – 85% off

Visit the Thumbsticks new releases page for weekly updates on the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 games. You can also follow us on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

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This week’s PlayStation 4 releases (March 30-April 3, 2020)

Resident Evil 3 and Persona 5 Royal headline this week’s lineup of new PlayStation 4 and PS Vita releases on the PS Store.

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New PlayStation 4 game releases
Sony / Thumbsticks

Resident Evil 3 and Persona 5 Royal headline this week’s lineup of new PlayStation 4 and PS Vita releases on the PS Store.

This week’s big new PS4 release is Capcom’s Resident Evil 3. Remade in the RE Engine, the game gets a sumptuous graphical overhaul and employs the same third-person camera used in last year’s stunning RE2 remake. The package also includes the asymmetrical-multiplayer game, Resident Evil: Resistance.

One of the best RPGs of recent years also gets an update in Persona 5 Royal. This expanded version of the game features new music, characters, attacks, locations, puzzles, and story beats. We’re particularly excited to meet new Phantom Thief, Kasumi Yoshizawa, and hang out at the Penguin Sniper cafe to play billiards and darts. We love darts.

We might love darts, but we don’t love chemical bio-weapons. However, that’s what’s in store for players trapped in The Complex. With a script by Lynn Renee Maxcy, The Complex is an interactive cinematic thriller with branching storylines and performances from Kate Dickie (Game of Thrones) and Michelle Mylett (Bad Blood).

If you like the idea of Death Stranding, but not its execution, do check out Totally Reliable Delivery Service. It’s a madcap multiplayer physics-based simulator about delivering parcels. We totally loved what we played last year, and we totally expect it to be totally worth playing.

Other new PS4 releases include Overpass, Snakeybus, and Operencia: The Stolen Sun, a new old-school RPG from Zen Studios, who are best known for their pinball games. It looks promising.

Here is the full lineup of confirmed PlayStation Store games for the PS4, PS VR, and PS Vita.

New PlayStation 4 releases – March 30-April 3, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

  • Battle Rockets (PS Vita only)
  • The Casebook of Arkady Smith
  • The Complex
  • Curious Expedition
  • Final Assault
  • Good Goliath
  • Immortal Legacy: The Jade Cipher
  • Operencia: The Stolen Sun
  • Overpass
  • Persona 5 Royal
  • Random Heroes (+ PS Vita)
  • Snakeybus
  • The Ultimate FMV Bundle
  • The Interactive Movie Bundle

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

  • Totally Reliable Delivery Service
  • The Wizards – Enhanced Edition
  • WurroomInfliction: Extended Cut
  • Yoga Master

Thursday, April 2, 2020

  • No releases

Friday, April 3, 2020

  • 8-Bit RTS Series Complete Collection
  • Hyperparasite
  • Resident Evil 3

More from Thumbsticks

Visit our new releases page for weekly updates on the latest PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch games. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

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Art of Rally is a diminutive driving delight

Art of Rally may feature some micro machines, but it’s not just a novelty racer.

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art of rally
Funselektor / Thumbsticks

Art of Rally may feature some micro machines, but it’s not just a novelty racer.

Have you ever tried to make a 3D driving game in an engine like Unity or Unreal? No, of course, you haven’t. You’re probably a normal person with sensible hobbies. You probably went outside and spoke to people. (In the before times. Nobody goes outside anymore.)

Me? I’m an odd sort. I like to know how things work. So in my neverending quest to produce semi-functional video game demos that never amount to anything, I’ve tried to make a few driving games. It’s surprisingly difficult.

Not that it’s hard to slap some skinny cylinders on a cube (yay, primitives!) and make it roll. Modern game engines come equipped with everything you’ll need to make a functional vehicle. If you put together all the various mechanical bits you’ll get something that works. It can be tweaked and tuned and customised, but is perhaps a bit too twitchy and complex for video game purposes, especially if you’re looking for an accessible, arcade feel.

To get something that plays well? That’s the real challenge. (And for the record, I usually settle on something like this. If it looks dumb but it works, it’s not dumb.)

art of rally night

Art of Rally, an arcade rally game by Funselektor Labs, currently has a free demo available. When I fired it up and started playing with a keyboard, I felt instantly reminded of my own twitchy forays into driving games. But we have all long since learned that the keyboard is not the ideal way to simulate analogue inputs like an accelerator pedal or steering wheel.

Steering was a difficult tap dance across the keys; acceleration was all or nothing; and between the two, uncontrolled slides, spins and crashes were frequent. Then I dug out an Xbox One controller and, suddenly, Art of Rally began to sing.

Just the ability to gradually depress the accelerator – and let’s not understate just how good those analogue triggers are on an Xbox One controller – unlocks a new universe of control. Feathering the accelerator through a shallow bend, near-impossible on the binary clack of a keyboard, is second nature now. Crashing is through exuberance and ambition, not through lack of control. Accidents are fun, not frustrating. (And accidents in Art of Rally are really good fun.)

Whipping through the forests of Finland in Art of Rally, with the squirmy retro rally car wrestled under control, you can appreciate how pretty a picture Funselektor has painted. It’s minimalist and understated, with block colours frothy foliage and bouncy, lo-fi obstacles. This is rallying with a smear of vaseline on the lens and gravel in its heart, which suits its adorable replicas of (what look very much like) a Lancia Delta and Ford Escort RS1800.

art of rally jump

Don’t expect Art of Rally to be a hyper-realistic racer, then. The pared-back visuals and instinctive action tell you where Funselektor’s priorities lie. This pocket rocket will never compete with Codemasters’ efforts on realism and technicality, then, but that’s not the aim here.

But for an accessible, arcade-friendly rally game? We’re expecting Art of Rally to have plenty of depth to back it up. You’d expect nothing less from the creator of (the surprisingly zen) Absolute Drift.


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This week’s Xbox One releases (March 30-April 3, 2020)

This week’s lineup of new Xbox One releases includes a classic survival horror, an interactive movie, and a game about delivering parcels that isn’t Death Stranding.

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New Xbox One game releases
Microsoft / Thumbsticks

This week’s lineup of new Xbox One releases includes a classic survival horror, an interactive movie, and a game about delivering parcels that isn’t Death Stranding.

A bumper week of new Xbox One releases is headlined by Capcom’s remake of Resident Evil 3. If you enjoyed last year’s stunning update of Resident Evil 2, you can expect the same lavish production values, control refinements, and well-directed scares.

Another nerve-wracking release is The Complex from Little Jade Productions. It’s pitched as “a live-action, cinematic interactive movie sci-fi thriller” about the aftermath of a bio-weapon attack in London. The story is written by Lynn Renee Maxcy, winner of two Writers Guild of America awards for her work on The Handmaid’s Tale. Michelle Mylett and Kate Dickie are among the cast.

If you’re looking for something a little less panic-inducing, you should totally check out Totally Reliable Delivery Service. We played the game at E3 last year and had a blast. It’s funny, chaotic, charming, and sometimes panic-inducing. Oh crap.

Other new games include Lost Artifacts: Golden Island, Random Heroes, and Snakeybus, which, if you haven’t seen it, is exactly the game you think it might be.

Each new release can be purchased from the Xbox One digital games store and Microsoft online store. Here’s the confirmed lineup.

New Xbox One games – March 30-April 3, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

  • The Complex

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

  • Shaolin vs Wutang
  • Totally Reliable Delivery Service
  • Random Heroes
  • Lost Artifacts: Golden Island

Thursday, April 2, 2020

  • No releases

Friday, April 3, 2020

  • The Curious Expedition
  • Horror of the Deep
  • HyperParasite
  • Resident Evil 3
  • Snakeybus

Visit the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 games. Jump on the Thumbsticks bandwagon by following us on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

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We hate to ask, but global advertising revenues are the lowest they've ever been. It's killing the online publishing world. If you found this article interesting or entertaining and you want to support quality games writing, then please consider supporting us via Patreon, buying us a coffee, or subscribing to our newsletter.


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Final Fantasy VII Remake to ship early in some regions

Disruption to global supply channels means that Final Fantasy VII Remake will be shipped early in Europe and Australia.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake delay
Square Enix

Disruption to global supply channels caused by COVID-19 means that Final Fantasy VII Remake is shipping early in Europe and Australia.

It looks like some players will get the chance to visit Midgar a little sooner than expected. In a statement posted to Twitter, Square Enix says that Final Fantasy VII Remake will be shipping to Europe and Australia earlier than planned due to the impact of COVID-19 on global supply channels.

In the statement, producer Yoshinori Kitase and director Tetsuya Nomura said:

“These unique circumstances have made it very difficult to align timing of our global shipping. Our highest priority is that all of you, including those who live in countries currently facing the biggest disruption, can play the game at launch, so we made the decision to ship the game far earlier than usual to Europe and Australia. As a result, there is greater chance that some of you in these regions will now get a copy of the game prior to the worldwide release date of April 10.”

Copies of Final Fantasy VII Remake will be shipped to other Western regions later this week. The game should be available for the official launch date, although it might be prudent to expect short delays and a lower than usual numbers of physical copies available. Such is life. You’ll pull through it.

The statement ends by asking players who get the game early to not spoil the experience for others.

“We know there are potential spoilers that have been out there for over two decades as the original Final Fantasy VII was released in 1997. But Final Fantasy VII Remake is a new game that still has many surprises for everyone.”


This week’s new video game releases

To find out more about this week’s new releases – including Resident Evil 3, Persona 5 Royal, and Totally Reliable Delivery Service – read our full Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One roundups. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard for daily news updates.

Thumbsticks needs your support

We hate to ask, but global advertising revenues are the lowest they've ever been. It's killing the online publishing world. If you found this article interesting or entertaining and you want to support quality games writing, then please consider supporting us via Patreon, buying us a coffee, or subscribing to our newsletter.


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