Where To Get It: Steam
Nonagrams, or Picross, as they are often called, are a favourite puzzle type of mine. Their solve methods, the hemming and hawing about placement, the desire to not fuck up, because who knows what interesting pixellated picture might result!
So, at first, I was a little wary of PictoQuest, because it promised to be a Picross RPG, and… How? How would that work? Well, as it turns out, I still don’t really have an answer, because while PictoQuest has RPG stylings… It’s essentially Picross puzzles, most timed, with some abilities, a limited inventory system for those abilities, and a lick of paint over it. The closest it really comes is in boss battles, where the bosses have the ability to affect the board.
Now, I’m going to make it clear that this isn’t a bad thing, although the bosses affecting the board may not be to your taste. The monsters look very pretty, the chests and shop look very pretty, the world, and having fast travel between areas… That’s nice. Aesthetically, it’s clear, it’s cool, I like it, from the cutesy visuals to the enemy designs to the music. Mechanically… Well, it’s honestly hard as hell to screw up Picross, although there are some minor gripes I’ll get to. And the purchasable abilities do help when there’s a monster involved, as the ice blast essentially freezes their attack timer for a few seconds, perhaps giving you time to wallop them but good by completing a row or column, or, in the case of the fire powerup, reveal the contents of a row and a column, briefly. So they’re nice, but… Not really sure if it’s an RPG per se… Well, it does have grinding earlier levels for coin to buy abilities, so… I guess that’s somewhat RPGish…
Anyway, that aside, it looks good, it sounds good, it’s PICROSS, so what can I gripe about? Well, slightly sticky controls and an awkward means of accessing your inventory, for a start. Draw a line across a row or column, and, if you’re too quick, it might not register it all. It might not register the first tile if it’s feeling finicky, as it does sometimes, and the inventory… Well, you can only access it in battle, with I and then clicking on whatever doohickey you’re going to use, and there’s consequently no way to drop items that I’ve seen.
Finally, there’s my personal bane: Single save. As I’m writing, I’m preparing to stream this, and I’m grimacing, because there’s already spoilers, and once I’ve completed those 100 puzzles (plus some change), well… What then?
These are, overall though, not enough gripes to really not recommend it. It’s a Picross game, it’s got a good aesthetic, it does have some thought needing to be put in beyond the puzzles (attacking an enemy also knocks back their attack timer, and, y’know, bosses), and it’s fun. Good enough for me!
The Mad Welshman doesn’t have a lot to say today. He’s not feeling too well.