Pic-a-Pix Pieces is a paint by numbers, nonogram and picross logic puzzle game available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4 and Vita. Lightwood Games are specialists in puzzle games involving word searches, picross and more besides. Can Pic-a-Pix Pieces deliver an entertaining paint by numbers, nonogram and picross logic puzzle game?

An easy to follow twelve page guide teaches the player in the basics and intricacies of Picross logic puzzles and how to follow the hints situated directly above and to the left of the grid. Pic-a-Pix Pieces features twenty sets of picture puzzles that range from half a dozen to 24 individual pictures that form separate pieces of a complete picture puzzle totalling to 354 individual picture puzzles, while massively varying in size per picture puzzle.

Pic-a-Pix Pieces supports cross-buy between the PS4 and Vita, although it unfortunately does not support cross-save, so you will not be able to continue from your previous progression on the Vita version when playing the PS4 version and vice versa. Cross-buy presents a superb amount of value as it means that you will be purchasing the PS4 and Vita versions of the game with just a single purchase.

The controls are appropriately mapped to both the Vita and DualShock 4 controller as the Vita version having a touch screen control scheme for swiping across the puzzle area to quickly fill multiple squares or tapping a square to fill an individual square as an alternative to pressing X, while tapping the relevant colour on the top left of the touch screen as an alternative to pressing R or L. However, there are other methods of successfully filling squares on Vita and the DualShock 4 controller by pressing X to fill a square with a colour; pressing O to fill a square with an X to represent the square remaining white; holding X or O while moving the left analogue stick or pressing up, down, left or right on the d-pad to quickly fill squares with colour or an X; pressing L1 or R1 to switch between colours respectively; and pressing triangle to check your progress followed by pressing X to fix incorrectly filled squares. The DualShock 4 controller’s light bar remains a vibrant pink throughout menus and gameplay, while there is no touch pad implementation, despite Vita’s alternative touch screen control scheme, alongside no vibration that could have vibrated to indicate an incorrectly filled square.

Graphically, Pic-a-Pix Pieces utilises the same style as Pic-a-Pix Pieces that is different in style when compared to Fill-a-Pix: Phil’s Epic Adventure as the core graphics involve a retro pixel art style when squares are filled with colour to form pictures of objects, alongside a background containing varying tones and sizes of squares. Meanwhile, a colour blind mode allows the player to strengthen or reduce the red, green or blue tones of each colour in an excellent respectful feature to people that have colour blindness who would prefer to play Pic-a-Pix games or picross games in general that involve colour related elements to the puzzles.

Pic-a-Pix Pieces’ presentation is solid with a great touch screen based user interface across various menus on Vita such as the main menu, tutorial screens, puzzle category menus and various gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons on Vita and DualShock 4, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick on either, rear touch pad on Vita or the touch pad on DualShock 4. Menu backgrounds are kept to a minimum with jigsaw puzzle pieces of varying tones.

The audio definitely has a charming retro theme as sound effects are reminiscent to that of retro puzzle games when filling squares, alongside retro arcade style music. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation that could have produced the sound effect upon filling in a square, completing a puzzle or the retro themed soundtrack.

The trophy list includes 25 trophies with 4 bronze trophies, 14 silver trophies, 6 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy, while the Vita and PS4 versions have their own individual trophy list resulting in the player earning the same trophies for two separate playthroughs between both platforms. Easier trophies include the Admirable bronze trophy for revealing the first picture, while there are a total of 20 trophies for revealing every picture. Harder trophies include the Pedal to the Medal silver trophy for earning a medal solving a 20×20 puzzle and the Precious Medal gold trophy for earning every medal in any picture. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take around 10 to 15 hours to platinum the trophy list.

There are no difficulty levels, although the difficulty curve seemingly depends upon how familiar the player is with the subject matter of the paint by numbers nonogram form of picross puzzles and logic puzzles, while the twelve step tutorial will go some way towards making newcomers to paint by numbers nonogram picross puzzles and logic puzzles have a better understanding of the gameplay and rules. However, the fix button definitely offers a chance to the player to have the difficulty curve of their own choice until learning gameplay rules or the puzzle’s pattern well enough to not have to rely upon it when attempting the gold medal for every puzzle.

Pic-a-Pix Pieces’ replayability stems from 354 picross puzzles that forms 20 pictures featuring a variety of imagery, replaying picross puzzles to improve your personal best time for each individual puzzle and each of the 20 pictures, alongside attempting to earn the gold medal from completing each puzzle without using the fix button. However, unlike Word Search by POWGI; Pic-a-Pix Pieces does not feature local multiplayer on PS4, despite Pic-a-Pix Deluxe on Nintendo Switch featuring local co-operative multiplayer for 2 to 4 players.

Analysis
• Title: Pic-a-Pix Pieces
• Developer: Lightwood Games
• Publisher: Lightwood Games
• System: PS4/PS Vita
• Format: PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: Yes (PS4 and PS Vita)
• Cross-Play: No
• Players: 1 (PS4 and PS Vita)
• Hard Drive Space Required: 130.1MB/Vita Memory Card Space Required: 168MB

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Puzzles
90 %
Gameplay
90 %
Graphics & Sound
90 %
Controls
90 %
Difficulty
90 %
Replayability
90 %
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Jason
Jason plays all genres of games and enjoys all different kinds of experiences that the games industry has to offer. Jason’s favourite PlayStation exclusive franchises throughout various eras include: Crash Bandicoot, God of War, Gran Turismo, inFamous, Killzone, Little Big Planet, MotorStorm, Resistance, Spyro the Dragon, Uncharted, Wipeout and various games that never became big name franchises. A special mention goes to Black Rock’s superb Split Second: Velocity as it is rather unbelievable that it will never receive a sequel. Jason now mainly plays modern PlayStation games on home console and portably, but occasionally returns to the old retro classics on the 3DO, PS1 and PS2 such as discovering Cool Spot Goes to Hollywood 20 years after its original release on PS1. Jason is happy to see gaming coming full circle with updates for retro classics such as Alien Breed, Superfrog and Crash Bandicoot.

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