Thanks to Procedural Level for the review code
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 02/27/2020
Bringing the feel of the Picross 3D style of gameplay onto the switch, Voxelgram doesn’t fully go for aping Jupiter’s UI with the game. In all honestly, things feel a bit clunkier here than in Picross 3D Round 2, but it’s not too bad.
The visuals get the job done, and the music is shockingly soothing. It feels a lot like your ordinary, generic sad background noise, but it worked so much at relaxing me during gameplay that I ended up maxing out the BGM volume, so in a way I’d honestly say this music is better than what’s usually in Picross games, so you got a nice relaxing background noise to chill to.
Voxelgram is essentially just a fan-made take on Picross 3D, and that’s not really a bad thing at all! It continues the same general formula of those titles, where you must break apart a three dimensional cube in order to reveal an item. Like traditional Picross, there are numbers that indicate the amount of tiles in a line you have to mark, except now that you’re handling 3D objects, you’ll have to look at every side, angle, and layer and take dimensions into account, and will have to erased
Each set of stages in Voxelgram is themed around a certain location where those items would be. For example, one set may consist of several different types of flowers, while other sets may consists of household items, vegetables, and other things. Once every item in a set is discovered, then they will show up in the diorama, leading to a cute incentive to complete each set fully.
When it comes to the controls, Voxelgram is a bit iffy, not being nearly as tight as the Picross 3D series in this regard. You do have touch controls available in handheld mode, but I found them to be horribly clunky, since they usually force you to tap an icon before going to mark or erase blocks. Not to mention it’s a lot trickier to rotate the cubes and change layers with just your fingers, which makes the button controls far superior in most ways. But even then, there’s an annoying habit where layers will automatically hide and show whenever they feel like it. There’s a setting to reduce this, but even with it marked I couldn’t seem to get it to completely stop, so I had to constantly use the ZL/ZR buttons to adjust the visibility if I was focusing on a certain layer.
Besides that and the game’s nearly 200 stage count, Voxelgram also has an interesting “randomized” mode, where the game generates random shapes and you can choose the size of the object. Then, you’re thrown into a cube with randomized number placements, acting as a new puzzle to solve, even if the final object barely makes sense. It’s a tiny effort at adding some bonus puzzles to the mix, but I found this mode to be an interesting gimmick nevertheless.
In conclusion, Voxelgram offers a fully functioning and enjoyable take on the Picross 3D formula. It really doesn’t do much besides offer a new set of puzzles to take up in the absence of Jupiter’s offerings, but considering how much 2D picross-esque games have been milked on the Switch eShop as of late, it’s very nice to see the other side of the formula given some love, and while Voxelgram still has some clunky controls and doesn’t bother to add much new or do anything to the formula, it still was a fun puzzler and will definitely fill the Picross 3D void in your heart.
I give Voxelgram a 7 out of 10.