3 Recent Games That Play like Picross

3 Recent Games That Play like Picross

Grid-based puzzle fun with a few twists

Charlie Jackson

Written by for Features on

Puzzle lovers have a few new reasons to celebrate as it's not even March and there are already 3 great new twists on Picross so far this year. So, let's see how these developers created games while putting clever spins on the classic puzzle format.

Pic-a-Pix Pieces

Pic-a-Pix Deluxe was my first foray into Picross on console and with all of the DLC available, I've been busy playing it ever since. Less than a week into 2019, Pic-a-Pix Pieces released which gives players massive puzzles that are broken up into numerous 10x10 to 20x20 puzzles. Not only does this allow for some huge images, it also results in individual puzzles that are incredibly varied. Deluxe often involved finding a row or column with numerous squares to fill in and working from there but Pieces adds puzzles that are worked from the outside like a jigsaw puzzle and the 20x20 puzzles are particularly unpredictable. It's also quite fun to go through the puzzles in a random order while trying to guess what the full image is going to be with as few puzzles solved as possible.

Pic-a-Pix Pieces has very solid UI for a Picross game. It's a piece of cake to mark blank squares, see what colors are left in a row or column, and it only takes a couple of button presses to find out how many errors you've made. There's lots of cool new music, too!

Similar game: Pic-a-Pix Color
Pic-a-Pix Pieces screenshot
Pic-a-Pix Pieces handles the clues remarkably well but you'll still need a lot of brain power

Piczle Colors

Less than a month later, Piczle Colors debuted. In this game, you only know how many of a color is in a row or column and whether or not all of the squares of a certain color are connected. Also, all of the puzzles are full of color and there are no empty squares to mark. Piczle Colors uses tiers of difficulty and only half of the puzzles in a difficulty level need to be completed before moving on. If you're still having a hard time, you can try some more at your current difficulty. Once you're confident, it's time to move on to a tougher tier. I personally found the puzzles to be rather easy until about halfway through then the difficulty curve took a substantial turn. Even the easier levels are fun as there's a clock to race and bonuses to unlock by earning a coin on each level for not using clues.

Piczle Colors screenshot
Piczle Colors' unique clues require a completely different mindset (I hope you're not afraid of clowns!)

Minesweeper Genius

Sure, Minesweeper is part of the title but deep down, this is a kind of reverse Picross game. Instead of using the clues to create an image, you use them to find mines and avoid them. Each puzzle involves guiding a super-cute Aristotle with an actual minesweeping broom through a maze. You're shown how many mines are in each row and column and you try to move Aristotle along the only safe path. When you're done, you'll have touched every safe square once and escaped safely through the portal.

Minesweeper Genius includes a campaign with progressively difficult puzzles and you'll earn up to 3 stars per level depending on how many times Aristotle got blown to smithereens. Because Minesweeper Genius doesn't use images like most Picross games, it can be enjoyed for longer thanks to the procedurally-generated puzzles. Heck, even the campaign levels are randomly generated each time so you can't earn 3 stars by just memorizing the puzzles. The biggest change with Minesweeper Genius is that the puzzles are much more intense. Considering a wrong move blows poor little Aristotle up, each move could very well be your last!

Minesweeper Genius Review
Minesweeper Genius screenshot
Puzzles in Minesweeper Genius range from tiny 3x3 grids all the way to massive 20x10 grids

3 games featuring unique twists on Picross in 2 months definitely feels like a late Christmas gift to a puzzle lover like me. Have you tried any of these games or do any of them sound particularly intriguing? Which Picross-inspired games would you recommend?

Gameplay video for Minesweeper Genius 3:26
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