Piczle Lines Review

I’m having a real hard time settling in to write my review for Piczle Lines, it seems I just can’t concentrate. But it’s for a good reason, I promise! Seems every time I think about what I want to say about Piczle Lines, I just end up being drawn back to my iPod to play it some more. It’s getting sort of out of hand. (1 hour later) Doh! Happened again!

I can pretty much just get this out there off the top, — Piczle Lines is probably the best puzzle game I’ve ever played for the iPhone/iPod touch. I suppose there are worse things one could say about a game, when I confess to having a hard time putting the game down long enough to write this glowing review. Even now I feel strangely drawn back to its line connecting goodness.

The setup for Piczle Lines is pretty familiar if you’re a fan of Picross, though there are significant differences. Each puzzle is a pixelated picture of some kind that you need to fill in. The game is laid out on a grid that has a bunch of numbers in different colors in some of the cells. All you need to do is to connect color-matched numbers using lines that are as long as the number is. So you need to connect two blue “5” squares using a line that takes up five blocks. Sounds easy?

Piczle Lines

In the beginning the game is pretty simple, there’s only so many ways you can connect 2, 3, or 4 space lines. The colors vary widely so it’s pretty clear which numbers you’re supposed to collect. But then you start getting larger numbers in huge blocks of the same color and now it’s truly a test to get these lines to all fit with no gaps between them. There’s a Sudoku-type element since there’s only one solution in the end, but it might take some trial and error to get there.

There’s a funny little throwaway story here to sort of give you a reason to play through the whole experience. Seems Professor Matrix has accidentally deleted all his photos off his camera, and all he’s left with is the garbled data. That’s where you come in. It’s your job to put the photos back together. So for his beach trip you’ll uncover umbrellas, sun, sand, etc. It’s pointless but cute.

What I found fantastic about the game was how it made me approach each puzzle. First I clear out the simple ones (the 2-5’s) then try and start in a corner like a crossword and try and thread each of the lines together as tightly as I can. There’s a zen like feeling as the areas begin to fall into place, even though you end up doing some backtracking towards the end when you only have one or two lines left to draw but don’t have enough room to do it.

The game includes 60 puzzles for free and if you like those you can buy 120 more from the app store for one dollar. It’s a fantastic deal as even the free version will keep you busy for quite some time. This isn’t one of those free games that gives you such a small sliver of gameplay that you never really understand what it’s about.

My only minor complaint is the lack of a few different game modes. A timed mode or maybe one where you only have a certain number of moves would’ve been nice for an advanced challenge. But it’s a tiny issue in an otherwise perfect puzzler.

Yesterday I sat down to play some Piczle Lines, and didn’t stop until my low battery warning popped up. A few hours had gone by and I hadn’t even noticed. It’s a terrific puzzle game with no stark problems at any kind. This is one I’d like to keep on my iPod for quite some time, but if I do I have a feeling I’ll never get anything else done!