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Animal Color Cross - DSiWare Review

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Animal Color Cross

DSiWare | Little World Studios | 1 Player | Out Now | 500 Nintendo Points
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23rd July 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

When I first introduced myself to Nintendo's own Picross DS, I found that it took quite a bit of time to comprehend. But after solving a good number of the easier puzzles, I was absolutely hooked. It was one of those games that I didn't think I'd love, but did. Little World Studios hopes to create some thunder of their own by releasing the very first Picross game for DSiWare. With way too many Sudoku options to choose from, it's really nice to see a developer come up a different concept for a puzzle game for a change. Even if you've never played Picross before in your life, Animal Color Cross is definitely a solid buy.

    This is a concept that's a lot easier to understand if you try it for yourself, but here's how it works. You have a grid full of equal portions that you need to fill in using an assortment of colours. Once all of the cells are completed correctly, a picture will be revealed. Outside the grid are numbers that represent the number of squares that will be found in a given column or row that match a certain colour. So for instance, if you have a red clue box with the number 10 in it, you'll learn that that specific line has ten red-coloured squares. What these clues don't indicate are the exact place where they belong - that's your job to figure out. 

    The right toolbar deals with various functions that affect the actual interface. You can use the move tool to drag the grid around on the screen, grab the marker tool to place coloured squares, or choose the X icon to place reminders for yourself as you try to rule out different possibilities. You can also zoom in and out using the L/R Triggers or, use the D-Pad buttons as shortcuts to the different functions on the toolbar. Each colour in a puzzle is assigned an individual layer to help you keep track of everything. As you start to fill things in, the hidden picture on the top screen will slowly come into place. Normally, I'd suggest that you have a look at the Help manual if you're in need of assistance, but it's quite useless if you ask me. Your best bet would be to view the Tutorial again.

The game has been developed in such a way that the player is able to adjust how a grid is viewed on the touch screen. The interface comes a number of flaws that will likely get you to appreciate Picross DS that much more. While Nintendo's version sports a sleek layout, Animal Color Cross looks a bit amateurish. For starters, the game has no music whatsoever, and with a game like this, it's hard not to notice. While it is nice that you can move the canvas around as desire, the toolbar off to the right side can go over the puzzle grid which doesn't seem right at all. The background colour is a bright yellow that can be changed to a solid blue by pressing the A Button in the middle of the puzzle. For some reason, I accidentally tapped squares on multiple occasions, creating a small amount of frustration. That's why I recommend that players zoom in as they play to prevent this from happening often, even if it does present another issue of making clues more annoying to work with.

    I like the fact that you can create multiple profiles in the game so that friends and family can give the game a try. You can assign your file one of 15 different icons, 10 of which are locked at the start of the game. All of the puzzles in the game are divided into multiple themed categories that correspond to different regions around the world. The more puzzles you complete, the more categories you'll unlock. Each menu has a total of 9 grids with initially-unknown puzzles. Once you've solved a puzzle, you'll get to see the final picture in all its flatness. Completing puzzles will also remove pieces from a concealed photo for each regional theme. There's a lot to do in this title, and if you love Picross you'll likely enjoy yourself despite the minor annoyances. Just don't expect pictures to come to life like in Picross DS.

    Beginners shouldn't feel too intimidated about giving this a try. It's a fun puzzle that will go well alongside the other puzzle games you have in your library. And for existing fans of the concept, this is an obvious buy. There are a series of complaints to be had with the presentation and the interface, but don't let this stop you from spending the $5.

21/30 - Good

Gameplay 8/10 - Multiple layers of colour add a different dimension to the concept, takes a few puzzles to understand fully, challenging solutions
Presentation 7/10 - No music at all to add to the appeal of relaxation, issues with the layout itself, a bit on the wonky side, looks amateurish
Enjoyment 3/5 - Relaxing and a fun diversion from other word/number puzzles, interface issues lead to frustration and/or a lack of impressiveness
Extra Content 3/5 - Lots of puzzles for only $5, offers hours of gameplay, can create multiple profiles and involve people in your household

Equivalent to a score of 70% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by KnucklesSonic8
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Animal Color Cross
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