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.
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.
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.