Pic-a-Pix Color review for PS Vita, PS4

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, 3DS, Wii U
Publisher: Lightwood Games
Developer: Lightwood Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

For me, the sign of a great puzzle game is when you see it in your brain as you’re trying to sleep. Given that the Tetris effect is a recognized, documented thing, I’m clearly not the first person to recognize this fact, but it’s nonetheless my personal yardstick for what separates the average puzzle games from the ones worth checking out.

By this measure, Pic-a-Pix Color is one of the great ones. I had to stop playing it too late in the evening, or else my thoughts and dreams would be haunted by little grids, with my brain frantically trying to figure out where to place various colored dots. Even after moderating my time with the game, I could never play just one puzzle. I’d inevitably find myself going back to play one more time…five or six or seven times in a row.

If you’ve never played a pic-a-pix puzzle (they’re officially called nonograms), they may not seem like the sort of thing that would inspire a Tetris-like devotion. You have a 5×5 (or 10×10, or 15×15, or whatever) grid, and you know how many squares of each color are in every row and column. It’s then up to you to color the squares in the right pattern, and ultimately reveal the picture that’s hidden away.

Like any great puzzle game, however, the simplicity is what hooks you in. Those basic rules lead to a seemingly endless number of possibilities, and, crucially, you usually can’t figure out what it is you’re creating until you see the finished product. It may be a horse, it may be a beach, it may even be a pear and an eggplant, sitting together in a bowl for some reason.

Obviously, the format will be familiar to anyone who ever played a Picross game on their DS. But just because it’s not brand new that doesn’t make it any less worthwhile. Pic-a-Pix Color is sure to ensnare anyone who loves a good puzzle challenge — so if you pick it up, you’ve been warned.

Lightwood Games provided us with a Pic-a-Pix Color PS Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: A+