It’s been a few weeks since I last reviewed a Lightwood Games game (with another two due for review soon), but this time I thought I’d review it on the Nintendo Switch. Although, if you’re picking it up on the PlayStation 4 and/or the Vita, it’s the same game with the standard double platinum and Cross-buy process. Today I’m looking at Block-a-Pix Deluxe, a rather brilliant puzzle game based loosely on Picross rules – to an extent.
I’m sure lots of people out there will correct me on this, but I’ve not seen puzzles like this before, not in standard puzzle games or physical puzzle books. I’ve been working my way through the various puzzles and I think I’ve found my third favourite type of puzzle game now, just behind Sudoku and Picross!
The objective of Block-a-Pix Deluxe is to reveal the big picture by drawing out a bunch of small rectangles into the grid on the screen. However, it’s obviously not as easy as it sounds! The grid, as you can see above, is covered with numbers which indicate the size of the block that number is situated within. So, if you have a number 1 then that square will be pre-filled in as it’s saying that the single block is a 1×1 square. That’s the only help you get, unlike Fill-a-Pix which easily let you fill in, or cross out, the zero and 9 numbered blocks.
So, how do you do this? I’ve put a video below of me running through general gameplay info, but here are the rules (simplified):
1. A block is just that – it will be at least 1×1 and the opposite sides are all the same, so it can be 2×5 (2x5x2x5) but not oddly shaped like an L shape (has to be a rectangle/square)
2. The number that is on the grid only appears in one shape – no overlapping or doubling of numbers per placement
3. Multiple shapes of the same colour CAN be placed next to each other (unlike in the Pic-a-Pix Colour game)
4. It’s hard to spot but there are some ‘easy’ allocations upon starting a level to help you make a start.
In total, there are 120 puzzles for you to work your way through ranging from 10×15 grids all the way up to 65×100. Just to put that into perspective, the smaller ones take me around 5-10 minutes to complete whereas the final image on the list took me a whopping 90 minutes! So, once again, Lightwood Games haven’t given us a game with a few puzzles to keep us busy until their next game, they have given us enough to get on with for a few months!
Thankfully, they’ve also included their trusty ‘hint’ button, only this time it is a hint and not a ‘cheat’ tool. I say this because, in one of their previous games, I won’t say which one, you can literally do everything wrong and ask the game to ‘fix’ it for you, thus practically completing the puzzle without you having to do anything. In Block-a-Pix Deluxe, when you ask for a hint, it’ll tell you how many blocks you have created which are wrong. You can opt to ‘fix’ it here as well, only the game simply removes the incorrect blocks rather than changing them to the correct ones for you.
What I did find out though, if you ask for a hint and see how many you have wrong but back out without asking it to ‘fix’ them, you’ll still get the gold medal at the end of the puzzle. The gold medal does nothing other than shows you that you did it without a hint, but it’s only taken off you if you tell it to ‘fix’ it, not if you want to know how many/if you have any wrong! Seriously, I must have hit the hint button at least 60+ times when I was doing the final image as one wrong placement would have led to a domino effect of placing things in the wrong area.
Now, people who have read my reviews are going to be shocked at this – I would love it if these games had some kind of progression. I’m referring to the dreaded mobile phone ‘star-method’ or something similar. So, rather than having everything unlocked from the start, things get unlocked over time as you progress through them – or maybe bonus puzzles become available as a reward for completing X amount of puzzles without getting a hint.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that we have access to everything as soon as it boots up, but playing the game on a trophy-less system makes me want more incentive to complete everything. Maybe Lightwood Games could implement in-game trophies as Turok has, so it mimics the ones we get on PlayStation, only they are purely on here to give you something to work towards?
Not much to say here – the game looked great both in handheld mode and docked mode – docked allows you to use either the joycons (you have to use both at once) or a Pro controller, and handheld lets you use the touchscreen if you wish. This is similar to the differences we saw between the PS4 and Vita versions, the Vita version usually allows touch control as well. The game has the customary look about it – everything is very clear, colourful and easy to see, even in handheld mode.
In regards to the music, just like all the previous games, Block-a-Pix Deluxe has the same music tracks within it and you can skip to the next one by turning the music off and on in the menu. I would have liked a different selection of music if I’m being honest, as I’ve heard the same tracks on many games now – but that’s simply because I own them all!
Now, one thing I have noticed which we don’t usually get on the PlayStation side (I’m not sure about this particular game though) is the inclusion of DLC. Initially, you’re given four puzzles for free as a ‘demo’ but there is a pack currently on the e-Shop which gives you an extra 30 puzzles for £2.99.
Official Trailer (3DS, but same game):
Block-a-Pix Deluxe is another brilliantly clever puzzle game from the puzzle gods over at Lightwood Games. If you’re working towards completing every puzzle the game has to offer, you’re in for a long ride as this is a game you can’t just ‘ask’ for help and have the answer given to you, you need to think about all of the puzzles you’re presented with. Fans of games such as Picross will really enjoy this type of puzzle as it gets you to think logically whilst also looking a few steps ahead to ensure one move doesn’t block off any others.
This was my first Lightwood Games game on the Switch, as I usually grab them on the PlayStation side, and I honestly felt more relaxed whilst playing it – I didn’t have the trophy hunter inside of me nagging away and making me want to look up a guide. I took my time, learnt a few tricks to make it faster, and thoroughly enjoyed the puzzles I’ve done so far, even the one which lasted me almost five episodes of Red Dwarf the other night!
- - Very addictive and gets really challenging over time
- - Simple idea which has been perfectly adapted into a game
- - Adaptive controls based on how/where you play it
- - Suitable for people of all skill levels and ages
- - Double Platinum and Crossbuy on PlayStation
- - As a massive fan of Lightwood Games, I would love different music to listen to
- - Some people may not like that 'fix' just removes the incorrect block and doesn't correct it for them (I'm happy with this though)