Regular visitors to my site will know that I love puzzle games, especially logic-based ones such as Sudoku and Picross, so I’m always on the lookout for games which provides a twist to the formula and offers something new and exciting. One such game was sent to me a few weeks ago, Depixtion, a Picross-based game which is one of the most colourful editions of the classic puzzle I’ve ever seen. Although the actual gameplay mechanics are the same as your regular Picross puzzle, the way the game utilises the completed puzzles is what makes this game stand out.
We’re no stranger to Picross puzzles around here, having reviewed titles such as Voxelgram and Pic-a-Pix Colour, so when DevHour Games sent us their game to take a look at, how could we refuse? Originally released on Steam back in June 2019, Depixtion has made its way onto the Nintendo eShop as of the 10th April 2020, although there does appear to be some missing content (which I’ll get to later on). There is also a key mechanic not included and a ‘problem’ with the way certain puzzles look.
But, do the positives outweigh the negatives? Let’s find out…
I imagine that anyone who is here, reading this, knows what a Picross puzzle is and how it works. If not, here’s the easiest description I can come up with…
A Picross puzzle is a grid which has numbers placed upon the left-hand side of the rows and on top of the columns, numbers which indicate how many of the blocks within that row or column are ‘coloured-in’. A standard Picross puzzle will consist of one colour, so a double number on the side or at the top means that there’s a gap between both indicators (for example, if it said ‘2’ and ‘2’ on a row of five, there’ll be two coloured-in blocks, a gap of one, then two more coloured-in). You then apply logic in order to complete the image by crossing out squares you know can’t be filled based on the X and Y axis numbers, and colouring-in the blocks which should be filled in.
Depixtion changes it up a little by utilising two colours, a dark and light version of the particular ‘slide’ you’re working on. So, a light and dark yellow, red and blue. As such, the rules are the same only there may not be a ‘gap’ between two of the same colours, you may have the alternative version of the colour there instead – based upon the numbers at the side or top. This particular mechanic was used within Pic-a-Pix Colour, which I reviewed a while ago, allowing the puzzles to be more advanced and produce a more defined image, yet still abiding by the rules of Picross.
So, if the gameplay is essentially the same as Picross games I’ve played previously – what’s the unique aspect this game offers which others don’t…
Fully coloured-in end results
Depixtion is rather clever. Above I mentioned that you will be using the light and dark versions of red, yellow and blue, three prime colours which when combined can create very colourful images. You see, each of the 96 puzzles consists of three slides (three separate Picross puzzles) which overlap each other upon completion and presents you with a solution that’s multi-coloured.
Playing this game reminded me of my old photo printer, it would place a layer of yellow film on the paper then take it back in and place a red film over it, allowing you to see some of the colours appear as the two colours combine with various shades. Then, it would go in again and apply the blue, revealing the image in all its colourful glory. Depixtion is exactly the same, you may not actually understand or realise what you’re creating due to only working on one colour at a time, but once they overlap and reveal the image it’s quite clever how it all comes together.
I know other people may not find this as fascinating as I do, but I really enjoyed working through the puzzles, trying to guess what they are after only completing one colour – I was often wrong. Plus, this fun way of utilising the designs you create makes this particular Picross puzzle game stand out for its bright and multi-coloured images.
Controls, issues and missing features
First of all, how does Depixtion control? On one hand, it controls perfectly, you use the D-Pad or Left Thumb-stick to move around and the face buttons to colour in the various shades or cross out squares. You can even undo and redo with the shoulder buttons, as well as have the game highlight mistakes at the cost of a ‘star’ to show you’ve completed it with no help. So, what’s the issue? There’s no touchscreen support. After the brilliant Voxelgram, a 3D Picross-like game, I have become used to completing these puzzles with my official Nintendo stylus – something I couldn’t do this time around.
The reason there’s no stylus support is most likely down to the 24×24 puzzles – they are absolutely tiny on the portable screen. I can’t imagine the accessory or your finger working accurately when the squares are a few millimetres in size. This is my one and only issue – when playing in portable mode, it’s so hard to see the numbers on the larger puzzles. I’ve had to hold the Switch right up to my face and squint to read the numbers, and even then I’ve confused the number 1 and 7 many times. A zoom function or the ability to break the puzzle down into smaller chunks would have been nice.
Although, I don’t play my switch on the TV, so playing it there will most likely void the above two points, but for me, the Switch is my portable system, so those two comments affected my overall enjoyment.
Finally, in regards to missing features, there’s a Halloween DLC on Steam which adds another 48 puzzles (144 puzzles). I’m hoping this will come to the Switch in time for Halloween (as I imagine it was left out due to it only just being Easter at the moment), I’ll certainly pick it up if it does.
Although mechanically working like your usual Picross puzzle game, Depixtion uniquely combines various puzzles to make a colourful solution, unlike anything I’ve seen in this puzzle before. Whether you’re new to the world of Picross/Nonograms, or you’re a pro, there are puzzles ranging from the simple 5×5 to the insane 24×24 which are sure to challenge anyone who attempts them. Unfortunately, if you’re playing in portable mode, the 24×24 grids are rather small and the numbers are hard to see, and there is no touchscreen or stylus support (most likely for this same reason) – but I imagine those playing on TV won’t care about these points.
If you’re looking for a unique take on the Picross format, Depixtion is available now.
- - I love how it combines the three slides to make a colourful image at the end
- - 96 images to create out of 288 Picross puzzles
- - Great for people of all skill levels as there's plenty of puzzles per size
- - Cheerful music to keep you relaxed as you play
- - Very simple controls
- - No stylus/touchscreen support
- - The bigger puzzles are very small on the portable screen, making it hard to read the numbers