Picross is one of those games I go to if I want ten minutes or so of chill out time. Maybe at the end of a heavy session of Big Violent Game 2019 but before I go to bed, I’ll go complete a Picross puzzle and be dazzled at the work of art I have produced. It’s the type of game that puts me in my calm place. Depixtion is Picross multiplied by three – completing three coloured layers to make one lovely pixelated picture. Over the past week I have done about 40 of these puzzles – the game currently has 96 puzzles – and I have loved every minute of it. Every time I need to calm down a little or distract myself from the real world, I will load up a puzzle and it really has helped me chill out when I’ve needed to chill out.

So, how does Depixtion work? WELL, you start off with a clear board. These range in size as you progress through the game from 4×4, 8×8, 12×12, 16×16, 20×20 and 24×24. The puzzle I am currently on is a 16×16.

If you have played Picross before this will look familiar. To those who haven’t, you produce a picture by following the numbers on the sides and on top. The number in the square correlates to how many squares are in an unbroken sequence – so if the number says 3 you know there are 3 squares in a row. One of the twists of Depixtion is that there are two shades of each colour – a light and dark shade. It can look a little daunting to new players to just see so much information without an obvious solution but this example is from halfway through the game. Going through the easier levels will give you a clearer understanding of the various ways you can solve these puzzles.

Once you have filled in the requirements for a line, the boxes will start to grey out indicating that you have completed the line (though not necessarily meaning you have completed it correctly). You can use the x markers to show where you think a space should be kept blank. The more spaces you can eliminate, the easier it could be to complete certain lines. I always like to start from the top or bottom and build from there using the first or last numbers in each column. Once you have completed the red layer you move on to the yellow one.

This is the layer almost complete but you can see in the top left that a full picture is already forming of a nice Autumn day at a park. There are some times when you can almost ignore the number prompts completely and guess where to fill in squares based on the overall picture, but this is not a guaranteed way to success. One thing about Picross that can be stressful is when you make a mistake and do not realise it until the very end. There is an option in the pause menu that will let you see how many mistakes you have made and – for the price of a lower score – it can even show you the specific mistakes you have made. It is there as an option to make things a little easier for yourself but if you are a super genius you can make do without it, I’m sure. After the yellow layer all we have to do is place the blue layer and we’re done. Let’s see how this looks, shall we? Yeah!

You get a quick replay of the picture being made and a time. I am not very smart (and it was 2:30am) so the first layer in particular took me a little longer than it probably should have. Most puzzles for me take about 15-20 minutes which is a perfect time to just sit down and go into the chill zone for a little bit.

Depixtion is just a nice game to play and it isn’t too expensive either, $9.99 or £7.19 is not a bad price considering there are a good amount of puzzles here. It is currently available on Steam and a demo is available on Itch.io if you want to give it a try before you buy. In short, if you are looking for a game you can relax to with a nice cup of tea on a Wednesday night just before you’re ready to snuggle into bed – you could do a lot worse than Depixtion.



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