Thanks to RAINY FROG for the review code
Title: Piczle Cells
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 06/10/2021
Piczle Cells takes the franchise in yet another direction, with another type of puzzler being represented: the sliding piece puzzler, akin to the popular Quell series. Much like how Colors would add a new 3D look, Cells takes that 3D look, makes it way cuter, and even adds a claymation intro! The menus and UI as as clean as Score Studio games typically are, and the lighting on the cell creatures is surprisingly really good for a simple game like this.
The music is also a much, much higher step up this time around, too. The general feel of the soundtrack in Cells definitely comes off as if it was heavily inspired by the lo-fi hiphop loops that are endlessly recommended on youtube, and a lot of the songs in the OST are surprisingly relaxing, working great as background noise for when you’re spending time thinking on a solution.
Piczle Cells is yet another pack of puzzles, this time played like a sliding game kinda like Quell, with you being able to move singular cells in any of the four main directions, with the main goal of each stage being to unite every cell in the level into a single one.
This is done by positioning the cells and taking advantage of several key factors, mainly how different color cells cannot merge, and how a partially merged group of cells can’t move at all. This means that you can use these alt color cells as walls to help guide them to certain places that would seem impossible to reach with just four way movement, which makes these stages absolutely tricky right from the get-go: one stage took me eight consecutive minutes to finally solve, but it felt beyond exhilarating when I finally cracked the code!
Of course, with such a basic goal, yet tricky process, there will be plenty of mess-ups galore. You can thankfully rewind moves with the shoulder buttons, either by individual turns or just outright to the beginning of the stage. And since you have to hold the buttons down to activate said rewinds, you won’t ever be at risk of accidentally ruining your level progress by bumping your finger on a trigger. There’s not really much in terms of traditional hints, so it’s still very easy to get stuck, though thankfully you don’t have to completely clear every stage in a world to unlock the next, and each world of twenty stages allow you to play those stages in any order you please, leaving to a lot of flexibility. Stuck on one stupidly hard level? Try another and see if solving that helps you with ideas for the ones you skipped, it’s pretty darn fun and thankfully not as much of a pace-breaker as I would usually fear from such a game
Along your journey, you’ll come across differing challenges, whether they include extra obstacles or partially merged cells impeding your way, to tough placement that will make your head spin, and it’ll definitely keep you on your toes as you unlock the worlds and make your way through this fun puzzler. It’s a fairly basic game with five worlds and 100 stages, but it’s definitely one I’ve had tons of fun with as a pick up and play adventure when I got home from work, and for the price, the small scope feels just right for a game that won’t take forever to beat, but also won’t be done in an afternoon, either.
In conclusion, it was honestly rather surprising to see a Piczle game not in the same formula as the previous ones! You have a screen-filling pair of games, then a picross pair of games, and now a game that feels a lot like the Quell series, and it’s a really darn good one too.
With a super adorable art style, plenty of fun puzzles to solve, and quick pick up and play pacing, Piczle Cells ends up being another solid and entertaining game for the Switch eShop, easily worth it if you’re a fan of either the Piczle or Quell series, or just like buying every last multi-stage puzzler you can get your hands on. The cell designs are absolutely adorable, the controls are pretty simple to get used to, only really requiring the two analogue sticks, and the game offers plenty of challenge while also being quite flexible.
I give Piczle Cells a 7 out of 10.