Game: Piczle Cross Adventure
Genre: Puzzle, Role-Playing, Adventure, Strategy
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam)
Developer|Publisher: Score Studios| Plug in Digital
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US: E10+
Price: USD $ 9.99| CAD $ 13.11| AUS $ 14.99 | UK £ 8.99 |EU € 7,99
Release Date: 16th April 2020
Review code used, with many thanks to Score Studios!
This must be my week for puzzles! Earlier I looked at another nonogram puzzle game, and now here’s another picross-like puzzler: Piczle Cross Adventure. I was happy to see that Piczle Cross Adventure serves us a very nice surprise, all wrapped in a pleasing, retro-looking package.
A puzzle game with a great story-line
Piczle Cross Adventure opens up with a “previously, in the Piczle universe” kind of backstory. For me, it was a good to see how the story progressed after Score-Chan and Gig made a mess of it in Piczle Lines DX (review for that game here).
Didn’t play any of the earlier games? No matter, this game has you covered. You see, back then Professor Molecule M. Matrix invented a substance called Piczle Dust with the ability to turn anything it touches into pixels. When Score-Chan accidentally breaks the Piczle dust-powered Piczlematic-3000 camera, all heck breaks loose. The professor’s fat cat Dbug, covered in the Piczle Dust, escapes and causes most of the world to disappear into a cloud of pixels.
Score-Chan and Gig fix it all, but they accidentally leave behind a pot of Piczle Dust in space. Our heroes are kept busy and distracted with a new invention, Piczle Paint 3000. And meanwhile… under-Score comes to life! And the Monochromatiser is powered, created by gothic-looking villain Dr. Mona Chromatic. We (that’s me and Score-chan) have to check into all disappeared items and puzzle them back together again. Fortunately all the information is still there and can be pieced together using logic!
It isn’t often that a puzzle game has such a rich backstory, and I love it!
Over 300 classic nonogram puzzles
The basic premise of these nonogram/picross games is always the same: There’s a grid, with numbers assigned to each row and column that designate how many squares are filled in. Pressing A means you’ve selected the number of cells; pressing B means that cell is void. Once you’ve completed the puzzle you end up with a pretty picture.
You can get free help at the start of each puzzle: Confirm that you want to try your chances at a roulette, and one row and column are filled with the correct cells. I’m not a fanatic puzzler, so this was welcome for me, as the game doesn’t help you out by alerting you to cells you’ve incorrectly selected, which gives the puzzles an extra layer of difficulty. Sometimes you only find out going along that you’ve made an error somewhere that you have to correct first.
Normally I don’t let the image that’s appearing in the puzzle lead me in choosing where to put my numbers, but I found it necessary at times. Logic didn’t always get me to the solution.
A story with a true RPG element
What’s refreshing in Piczle Cross Adventure is that the puzzles are combined with another kind of gameplay–role-playing! Professor Matrix explains how Score-chan can make items that the Monochromatiser has erased return again, by solving the puzzles. Your alarm clock gone? Put in the right dots at the numbers, and a colored image of the alarm clock shows up. Both on your puzzle screen, and on your night stand too.
Each puzzle has a level attached to it, so you can only solve those for which you have gained enough XP. In the laboratory you first have to solve some puzzles to gain enough XP to level up, so you can tackle the level 2 ladder puzzle to get out of the house. The leveling-up made me smile because you gain stats too, like affection, piliferousness, and sympathy! The text writers had fun. For example, when you go from level 1 to 2, the game says: “You finally understand that joke from that one time!”
As you do in any RPG, you talk to anyone and check out anything. You can find items in the game like coins, but you also get things to advance your story. For instance, from the start you have a mobile phone and a pedometer. To get a map of the town, you have to put the local grocery together again first, and so on. Every area you can’t enter yet is barred off in a creative way–for instance, by a traffic jam with cars clogging up the air with their exhaust fumes.
The retro-inspired Piczleshire
The controls work well. No penalty for getting it wrong. And if you get a kick out of beating your own record, then a clock is ticking along to tell you how much time it took to finish a puzzle.
The map you get in the grocery store shows how many puzzles there are to solve in an area in Piczleshire. If you’ve let one slide, don’t worry about it–you can always get back later.
The Library in town is something else! Lots of books to read; some offer help on how to play the game, while some relate the story from the earlier Piczle games. I’m truly in awe at how much work has gone into Piczle Cross Adventure. It seems a work of dedication.
The graphics are retro-inspired. Not really my favorite way of depicting a game, but that’s all about personal preferences.
A very refreshing puzzler, with a fun combination of story-line and RPG elements. The game works well on the Switch, so it’s a good game to play on the go or for “just one more puzzle” during your morning cup of coffee.
A funny story-line, a dollop of humor in the writing, many, many puzzles, and a nice way of including the puzzle element. I have to say that Piczle Cross Adventure is a game that should be on every puzzle gamer’s Switch!
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up!