When Alex reviewed the first Piczle Lines DX he enjoyed the puzzler, saying it had “kaleidoscopic colour and a great artistic style” and I have to agree with him. But that comes with a caveat. It’s only the later puzzles in this sequel which really impress with the visual style. Much like Picross, early puzzles are so basic in look that they seem more like splodges of colour than a fully-fledged picture. Of course, you have to start somewhere, so piecing together these images by connecting dots is easier to learn with fewer grid squares to colour.
As with the first game, the idea has stayed the same – join two dots of the same colour together with an unbroken line which traverses the number of squares the dots say. For instance, if a dot has a number four inside it, you need to draw a line over four squares to meet the opposite dot. Step by step, the dots are joined, creating jagged lines of colour which, when zoomed out, create a picture. It’s easiest to compare this to Picross, because it’s all about solving art-based puzzles using numbers and logic.
Once those easier puzzles, depicting school subjects, are out of the way things get a little harder. Grids get bigger, more colours are added and the pathways that the lines take become longer and more convoluted. The sequel is very much more of the same, which isn’t really a bad thing. The later puzzles can take vast amounts of time as you scroll across seemingly endless grids, plotting points out. It would be nice for Piczle Lines DX 500 More Puzzles to inform you when you make a wrong move, which seems counter-intuitive, but with all that scrolling around, the last thing you want to do is make an early mistake that will haunt you later.
When investing that much time and ending with a solution, a sense of pride does seep through. But there are issues with the game, which Alex didn’t mind with the first, but I take issue with in this iteration.
The game is best played using the Switch as a tablet, pinching to zoom, tapping and dragging to draw the lines. Double tapping to erase progress is fine, but I take issue with the zoom distances. Being able to zoom out a little more would be nice; opening up the viewing area for those who would prefer to see more on the screen at once. Using the mini-map style image in the top corner for faster movement is a nice idea, but it lacks precision, often overshooting the area you wanted to highlight. Lastly, playing with the Switch docked is a horribly cumbersome affair of dragging a slow cursor around the screen. It’s clear the game was designed for touch controls and while the option to play on a TV is needed for the console, it detracts from the experience.
Leading the player down a path of learning to flip the mechanics on their head is a lovely touch. Later sections will remove colour completely, tasking you with connecting only dots of black. Here the game shines from the difficulty increasing, rather than just expanding the grids. With a vast number of topics to work through – countries, hobbies, works of literature – there’s plenty to do and Piczle Lines DX 500 More Puzzles becomes difficult to put down. It’s as addictive as it is original.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Rainy Frog