Depixtion (Switch) Review
There are never enough nonogram (Picross) puzzle games. I’m sure you could point to a lot of them, but there always could be more! While Picross is the big name in this style of puzzle, it can be a while between releases. There are other games that fill a similar space such as the Pic-A-Pix series or Piczle Lines, not quite the same but scratches the same itch. Some introduce new mechanics like adding colour puzzles. Depixtion is upping the ante and giving you three layers of puzzle. Can Depixtion make this multi-layer puzzle work? Can it fill the never-ending void left for more Picross puzzles?
Ok, so there’s no story to speak of. Depixtion is very straightforward in what it wants to do; puzzles. That’s right! Puzzle after puzzle until you can’t puzzle any more, with 96 puzzles there’s a lot to do. If that’s not quite enough then the good news is there’s even more to it than that! Depixtion is a traditional nonogram game on the surface, where it differs from the usual Picross is that each puzzle is made of three layers. Each layer is represented by a different colour, and within each coloured layer, you have to fill a picture with either the light or dark shade of that layer’s colour.
I’m getting ahead of myself though. Although I’d recommend you looking this up on Google, let’s talk about nonograms. On a grid, you have a series of numbers going vertically and horizontally, and these numbers indicate how many boxes on that line need to be filled in. Which means you need to go between the horizontal and vertical numbers to work out what to fill and what you can cross off. Trust me you’ll pick it up quickly! Usually, in other nonogram games the one puzzle will come up with the whole image, and you will often see what you’re making before it’s done. That isn’t so much the case here, because each layer combines to make an image the individual layers might not show. By using colour to help make the image it makes puzzles less binary, it’s not just either a filled box or empty. Instead you have the different layers overlapping to create the image. Coupled with the use of two colours per layer, this isn’t plain ‘ol Picross.
For those more familiar with Picross/Nonograms, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Depixtion does the job, and with the layer mechanic it freshens up the old formula a little. We’re not talking any Mega Picross rubbish here, the different layers aren’t just copies of each other. When a box from one layer also corresponds with a filled box from another coloured layer it blends the colour. This means that layers can be quite different from one another to help create the end image.
If you hate how long it can take to get to the decently sized puzzles, it doesn’t take long here. There’s more than enough time given to get you used to the different mechanics before really pushing you.
One change that took time to get used to is the fact that the grids are 4×4 compared to the usual 5×5. After well over a decade of a traditional 5×5 grids connected it was a real change. It’s something that you can adjust to, and you’re never punished for it. The game won’t tell you that you’ve gotten the wrong box, so you can make accidental presses as much as you want. If you are worried you’ve gone astray with your image, you can check for mistakes in the pause menu. This will tell you how many mistakes there are and in what layer. If you want them fixed for you, you’ll have to give up the star award for that layer. As far as I’ve seen the end of puzzle stars are for your own personal achievement, if you give any up to see how to solve the layer you can always try it again armed with the new knowledge.
Something else I liked was that you can freely switch between layers. If one isn’t turning out or you just don’t know where to start, maybe the next layer will guide you to the area boxes needed to make a combined image. Deeper into the more difficult puzzles it took me more time where I had to go through every line over and over to catch a break on some of the trickier layers. If you’re concerned it won’t be too difficult you needn’t worry, they make you work for those later puzzles.
Visuals aren’t exactly a nonogram puzzle games strong suit. You’re mostly dealing with a grid of 4×4 to 24×24 and you’re making the image by filling in boxes. The way the colours blend across layers as you’re solving the second or third layers can be interesting, as you see the overall image form. In handheld mode it should be noted that the larger puzzles can get a little squishy. Numbers can be read, it feels like an unfortunate side effect of showing the three layer preview screens alongside.
Picross puzzles can take some time and same goes for Depixtion puzzles. So you get very familiar with the music in the background, of course assuming you don’t just silence it and put a podcast on in the background (may I recommend the Vookscast). While I usually had something else on in the background, the music while repetitive is a catchy background tune to get stuck in my head.
There’s very little I have in the way of gripes with Depixtion. While the presentation is sparse, it is mostly like that to get you to the puzzles. One button press and you’re in, pick a puzzle and off you go. With the number of puzzles it might not be up there with Picross’ 200+ puzzles, but then you also aren’t being lumped with the Mega Picross either. The three layers also mean you have triple the amount of puzzles to solve, although they don’t make the full image per layer.
Initially, I struggled with the controls because they felt slightly too slow. Messing with the options there are some control settings that can make your time a little better. It’s worth turning the option to show the number of boxes being selected when you turn on the setting to drag out and fill several boxes. Be aware that if you’re playing on handheld mode that the numbers can get harder to read at 24×24. Numbers are still legible, but it’s not ideal.
If you need more Picross games in your life Depixtion is a good addition to the genre. While the three-layer puzzles aren’t groundbreaking, they are a pleasant change. If you can look past the minimalist menus there are plenty of Nonograms to solve. I’m not sure what else to tell you, if you’re a Nonogram fan then this is an easy choice, if you’re new to this style of puzzle it is worth having a try.
+ A fresh take on nonograms
+ Lots of puzzles!
+ Doesn’t linger on the basic puzzles while still being easy to pick up
- The menu feels sparse
- Text can be hard to read on the 24x24 puzzles in handheld