Thanks to Pixlbit Studios for the review code
System: Wii U (eShop)
Release date: 03/31/2016
There’s no story. Why would there be for a game like this?
With the majority of the action taking place on the gamepad, expect your TV to look pretty boring, as shown in my gameplay video. The gamepad doesn’t look much better, with a tan background and simplistic grids, giving a barebones presentation at best.
Music and Sound
Alongside the barebones art style of the game, the soundtrack is equally as barebones, with instrumentation and forgettable tracks that sound as if they were ripped from the public domain.
Right from the start its easy to see that Pixlcross is nothing more than a Picross clone, placed on the Wii U eShop to get the concept available on a system where its lacking. Considering my thoughts on titles like Pokemon Picross, this could be a good thing is done right, despite the gameplay being suited for handhelds. And in all honesty, Pixlcross is pretty much a Picross title with a different name, with the main objective of the 150 stages being to discover the hidden picture of each level. However, while the Picross 3DS titles offered the option to use both the buttons and the stylus to solve puzzles, Pixlcross only supports the stylus, and even then it requires holding the trigger buttons to mark anything down, as moving the stylus without holding those buttons will simply scroll the puzzle around for some reason, when the gamepad screen is certainly big enough to display the entire puzzle at once in the majority of cases.
Odd button combinations aside, you’d think it would still be easy to mark down the appropriate tiles, following the numbers and tapping the squares accordingly, yet for some baffling reason the whole process feels stiff, with you being locked to draw in a straight line instead of marking diagonally, and it’s just a mess to get used to, especially in the bigger puzzles when it could have been much easier, or made in a way that complements the game similar to Tappingo 2.
While you will get your fill with the 150 puzzles in the game in terms of content, there’s no real reason to go back and replay these puzzles once you clear them, outside of some minor achievements. Luckily, the game seems to have a promising solution in the form of a level editor with online sharing! Yay, right? Well, the touch screen does do its job for making levels, although since you’re the creator of a puzzle level, there’s no point in solving your own levels, which is why the online sharing feature would be such a great idea if it actually worked. You see, levels on the servers will stay up for a while, until they are all of a sudden erased after a certain period of time, meaning that you must download them from the servers to keep them with you due to the periodic wipe.
It doesn’t matter whether a friend on your friend list shares them, whether you use the in-game Miiverse posting feature often or when a popular level is made, it just gets erased after a certain period of time, which is absolutely mind-boggling. Just why oh why would you erase user created levels after a short period of time? When checking the currently uploaded levels for the game this morning, I could only see three in total thanks to this periodic wipe, which means sooner or later when the community slows down, you won’t have any levels to play at all! This aspect alone kills the entire point of the level editor in my opinion, and thank goodness that you can at least save levels to your system if you really like them, otherwise it would be screwed up even more.
In conclusion, Pixlcross is a simple concept that ends up being an utter mess. I gave the developer the benefit of the doubt for promising an update shortly after release that would fix most of the issues listed, but as of this review, no update has been issued, and I feel there’s no point in stalling on the review in hopes that the game will get better. No, instead I am going to do what I should have done a long time ago, and that is to condemn this game for the questionable controls and design elements along with the fact that some of the things that are coming in this supposed update should have been in the game from the start, and don’t get me started on the abysmal level sharing aspect.
As it stands now, Pixlcross is an inferior Picross clone with little creativity and none of the fun, which combined with being on a home console over a handheld makes this game a drag to play. For all I know, the update could launch this week, but no matter what, my point still stands on how the game should have fixed some of these odd issues from the beginning. I give Pixlcross a 3 out of 10.