On February 28th, 2020, DevHour Games, LLC released their first fully developed title: Depixtion for the Nintendo switch. Depixtion is a nonogram puzzle game, otherwise known as Picross, or Griddlers. I’ve played a few nonogram puzzle games in my day, so I was excited to review. Let’s dive in.
How one derives fun from a product tends to be highly subjective. Therefore ALL forms of review are opinionated, and should be taken with a grain of salt (this included). So let’s review Depixtion through the lens of more objective metrics such as; Graphical fidelity, characters/story, content/length, controls & gameplay, then finally, sound design & cinematics. This product was reviewed with a launch model Nintendo Switch
First off we have visuals, and the use of a varied palette of colours is applied extensively. Combining the standard Nonogram rules and adapting them to a layered experience, players aren’t limited to simply 3 colours, but any possible combination of those 3 and their lighter and darker shades. At first this felt moderately unimpressive, but after spending more time with Depixtion it’s application starts to flourish in the larger and more complex levels. Depixtion stands out from other similar titles in the subgenre through it’s use of a tri-layered end product, accumulating 3 individual nonograms into one. I want to reiterate, 3 colours and their shades seemed underwhelming at first, but it quickly explodes into an impressive palette considering its initial simplicity.
Characters & Story
Due to the style of game, Depixtion contains no mentionable characters, or an included plot. This isn’t detrimental to the final product though, as most puzzle games like picross or sudoku don’t contain stories.
Content & Length
Initially players may find themselves flying through the early levels, while they orient themselves with Depixtion. The smaller introductory levels do well to help players get comfortable with controls and game function without feeling overwhelmed by insurmountable looking puzzles. Fortunately Depixtion has a handy, yet hand holding tutorial that help players get started. For those familiar with picross games this may seem tedious, but for those uninitiated – a lifesaver. It’s not the most intuitive tutorial ever, though it’s effective and covers all it’s bases. Now, Depixtion contains 96 separate ‘images’, each image is compiled of 3 puzzles, totaling 288 puzzles ranging in difficulty. Puzzle sizes scale what some would consider abnormally, by multiples of fours, as opposed to fives. For example, Depixtion puzzles scale like so: 4×4, 8×8, 12×12, 16×16, 20×20, and 24×24, instead of 5×5, 10×10 etc. This is only a minor nitpick if anything, it breaks sections into easier to manage chunks.
The amount of time it could take one to beat Depixtion would vary greatly depending on player dedication, and logic skills. Replayability is certainly there, though this game is better framed as a casual time-killer and brain teaser, than a 40 hour grindfest.
Controls & Gameplay
Depixtion controls as one would expect, although it puzzles me as to why the touch screen isn’t utilized. For those unfamiliar, nonograms are fill-in-the-blank logic puzzles making use of a gridded system with numbers running along the X and Y axes. The goal is to fill in the grid with the according numbered pattern. More advanced nonograms will have larger dimensions, possibly even different colors/shades, and in this case multiple layers within a level. Players control the selected square with the left thumbsctick, or D-pad. Meanwhile A, and B are light and dark shades respectively. The X button is used to erase or ‘X’ a square, and Y switches to the next available layer. No curveballs here, and it works all well and good. In regards to some minor nitpicks it would be nice if players could fill lines with a simultaneous X/Y axis drag, but I understand the non-inclusion as a safety for players new to gridlers. On the other hand, if there are no numbers in a particular line some gridlers automatically X out those areas, which would be a nice quality of life change. Although, some players might find that too hand-holdy with the game playing itself.
Regardless, Depixtion functions as it should, and it remains a solid nonogram addition with an added twist. It works great with the Joy-Cons, in both stationary, and hand held mode, as well as docked.
Sound Design & Cinematics
The sound design in Depixtion is all fairly standard. It has plenty of clicks, bleeps and bloops as players scroll and select. When players use a darker or lighter shade, the tones are either higher or lower – which is a cute touch. The music is fairly relaxing, as it generally should be in a calming puzzle title. However at times, a higher pitch electric tune comes on that isn’t irritating at first, but grates over time. Everything is as it should be in the sound department, though some variation would be nice. I tend to play most puzzle games muted for longer hours of play, for the most part, so these notes may be exacerbated for some players.
Due to the style of game and exemption from story, this game does not contain cinematics.
All in all, I rather liked Depixtion, It’s a cute game that adds some much needed innovation to an arguably repetitive formula. I can’t say I’ve completed every level, but I surely intend to. It’s got a subtle captivation that has you saying “just one more”, until you’ve lost track of time. 7.5/10 innovating and consistent, while not groundbreaking. Depixtion is available on the Nintendo eShop, and on Steam PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam, and Mobile.
What did you think of Depixtion? Let us know in the comments. If you enjoyed this content, why not check out our Killsquad PC Review?
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Well Designed Puzzles, And A Touch Of New
- Score - 7.6/107.6/10
+ Interesting Nonogram Mechanics
+ Works and Presents as Advertised
– Could Use Minor Quality Of Life Changes
Just a Canadian dude who’s passionate about gaming, and the industry as a whole.