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Pictopix is four years old and still the best Picross game on PC

A screenshot showing a half completed Picross or nonogram puzzle from the game Pictopix.

It was true when John wrote his Pictopix review four years ago, it was true when the game got a huge update for its first anniversary, and it’s true now at the puzzle game’s 4th anniversary. The celebration is a smaller gift this time, but Pictopix is still great.

The gifts this time around is a single new puzzle, which is nice, and a downloadable copy of a Flash game the same developer created in 2009.

The Flash game is, no surprise, another Picross game. It was made in a few days a short while after its creator first discovered Picross DS, and features 15 levels and a level editor. It’s a nice bit of history if you’re already a fan of Picross – and particularly since Flash was killed off for good at the end of 2020.

Picross, also called nonograms, are puzzles you solve by filling in squares on a grid according to chains of numbers that sit alongside each row and column. When you’ve filled the entire grid according to the numbers, your markings will have created a picture. They’re normally not challenging to solve, but they are wonderfully relaxing. I occasionally binge Picross games on the DS or Switch in a manner I’d describe as either “fun” or “depression”, I can never decide, and Pictopix is the best implementation of the puzzle type on PC.

Here’s what John wrote in his original review:

Pictopix does everything right. A simple, unobtrusive presentation, a plain (but pleasant) blue screen, the grids presented clearly, no nonsense or animations or needless attempts to dress up a concept that shines brightest when least obscured. Left click to paint, right click to X, done. But it also requires getting some other more subtler things right for a good Picross game, and it achieves those too.

Pictopix has received updates since that have greatly expanded the number of available puzzles, as well as Steam Workshop support for users to share their own creations. If you’re looking for a second screen game to sink into while trapped indoors, and don’t fear your productivity being destroyed for several months, then here it is.

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Graham Smith

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