The Nintendo Switch has quickly become home to many puzzle games, each looking to boggle the mind with their own twist on the genre. Whether that be outpacing your opponent’s efforts in Puyo Puyo Tetris, carefully cutting each other into useful shapes in Snipperclips, learning programming language to become the best employee in Human Resource Machine, or tackling picture crossword puzzles in Picross S, the Nintendo eShop is the destination of choice for those that want to wrack their brains.
Piczle Lines DX is another addition to that puzzler treasure trove, developer Score Studios confounding players with the Piczle-Matic 3000. Invented by a moustachioed professor, the device can turn anything that it zaps into pixels, although, when the orb that powers it is smashed, every item in the entire lab becomes pixellated. In order to turn them back, the player must complete a picture puzzle to discover what they originally were. Items such as a Bunsen burner, desk, lab coat, and coffee mug start you off before the story takes you elsewhere.
Players can either choose to work their way through each puzzle in order in the chaptered Story Mode or play any puzzle at any time in Puzzle Mode. With the story being accompanied by short comic strip-like cutscenes that contextualise the otherwise seemingly random item selection while steadily ramping up the difficulty as you progress, it’s certainly the best place to start before moving on to tackle larger puzzles.
In order to solve each puzzle, players must connect dots of the same colour and number by drawing a line from one to the other – a six indicating that the finished line will need to fill six squares on the puzzle grid, for example. It’s that simple. This process gradually reveals the hidden picture, and, once completed, a celebratory ‘Clear!’ message is splashed on the screen with a friendly cheer in the background before the camera pans out to let you marvel at your handiwork.
As the puzzles increase in complexity, the numbers become ever larger, there’s more to deal with, and errors will soon creep in – clusters of the same number misleading the player to connect incorrect pairs, before later realising their mistake when they run out of space. That’s part and parcel of the experience, as always, with nothing ever being as simple as it first appears. With lines easy to remove with a simple double-tap, Piczle Lines DX doesn’t go to great lengths to penalise you for mistakes, leaving you to press on at your own pace. Even your progress is saved if you choose to leave a puzzle incomplete, letting you come back to it whenever you wish.
There are 100 puzzles to solve in Story Mode, 240 puzzles in Puzzle Mode, and free updates to introduce more – the Horror Pack becoming the first, adding 20 new scary puzzles in time for Halloween. Piczle Lines DX on Nintendo Switch is priced at £13.99 (€14.99), which may soon raise an eyebrow when compared to the fact that the picture puzzler is free on mobile. But, before you get in a huff, the puzzle packs come at an additional cost on mobile, and would be the same price as Nintendo Switch if they were all bought separately. Plus, the new puzzle packs will be free on Nintendo Switch but will cost extra on mobile.
Piczle Lines DX is playable in TV mode, Tabletop mode, and Handheld mode, meaning that you can work through the picture puzzles anywhere and anytime that you wan. While button input with the Joy-Con or Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is supported, it’s far easier to play when drawing directly on the touchscreen with a fingertip – which won’t come as a particular surprise, given the game’s origins on mobile.
With kaleidoscopic colour and a great artistic style, it won’t be long before the game’s charm wins you over – even if everything is slightly less sharp in TV mode. The Colourblind Mode is worth a quick shoutout, too, for those that may fear that it could become a problem. But, the music could do with more variation and doesn’t quite fit with creating a relaxed experience in which to conquer puzzles.
Crammed with picture puzzles Piczle Lines DX feels at home on Nintendo Switch, where the console’s adaptability around your lifestyle will let you methodically chip away at the conundrums that it packs. It isn’t without its imperfections, but the puzzle-obsessed will find much to enjoy.