Nintendo's Picross series is one of the most beloved puzzle franchises in gaming. However, Picross has yet to be seen on Nintendo's latest console, the Wii U. PixlBit Studios think they may have a solution for the console with their first game, PixlCross. However, does it hit the mark?
Title: PixlCross (Review Copy Recieved)
Publisher: PixlBit Studios
Developer: PixlBit Studios
Platform: Wii U
Release Date: March 31st, 2016
PixlCross is not a finished game. Despite (apparently) being delayed 6 months because of Nintendo's verification process, they spent none of that time attempting to fix what should have been glaring flaws in the game design. First, despite picross games being some of the simplest games on their systems, PixlCross feels sluggish, especially within the main menu. The game controls exclusively with the GamePad's touchscreen and bumper buttons. While this can work, PixlCross' use of the touch screen is abysmal, making the game a pain to control. While in the regular Picross series you can control the game using buttons, PixlCross does not give you that option. Similarly to the game's terrible usage of the touch screen, marking squares in puzzles is just as annoying.
While the Picross series always keeps the option to switch between penciling in a square and marking out a square easily available and visible in the left-hand corner of the screen, PixlCross instead uses the bumper buttons for switching between these options. Along with this, instead of simply filling in each square one at a time, PixlCross is set up to easily let you fill in squares within a line. While this may seem like it's a good addition, it almost removes all difficulty from the game. While filling in squares, the game will automatically mark any squares not part of the puzzle. Because of this, you can simply make a line and slide it across the row or column, giving you the correct answer. While PixlCross does have some kind of "achievement" system, it simply isn't engaging enough to make you want to 100% the game.
I only played 4 hours of this game but I came to a very simple conclusion: PixlCross, in no way, shape, or form, is worth your time or money. While the developers have been planning a patch for the game to fix some of these grievances (we're a month out from the announcement with no sign of it), it is still at its core a very broken game, with no amount of updating and performance patches being able to fix its issues.