It is a little know but perhaps somewhat interesting fact that before Score Studios was founded I was working on a picture crossword (nonogram, “picross”) type game on my own. I simply love these kinds of puzzles, so more than anything it was a labour of love.
Once Score Studios became a legal entity and professional independent game development was the focus the iPhone 3 was just about to annex the mobile market; it was a little slower to happen in Japan where flip phones were already far advanced compared to Western cell phones. The device’s touch screen was a major selling point and it became pretty clear my nonogram title should make way for more touch-screen focused development. It languished and lay forgotten ever since.
As I created the Piczle series (PICture puzZLE) initially with Piczle Lines, it was, in the back of my mind, probably always inevitable I’d revisit my nonogram game. Now I’ve somewhat widened the Piczle player-base with two Nintendo Switch Piczle Lines releases, and then Piczle Colors, a Piczle nonogram game idea began to take form as, what I’ve been hash-tagging with #thenextPICZLE.
Now there are of course already a number of excellent nonogram games available. Nintendo/Jupiter’s own Picross series, of course, as well as Conceptis/Lightwood Games’ expansive Pic-a-pix series are amongst some of the great nonogram games already out there. Piczle was always about taking these basic logic-puzzles and adding some traditional “game-y-ness” to them. Be it a story mode, polished graphics or trophies, some elements that add extra enjoyment to the basic logic-puzzle formula.
The idea of doing a 2D retro RPG style game as a wrapper for solid nonogram puzzling probably comes out of my love for 2D RPG action games (The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, The Adventures of Alundra, etc.) It is also a great canvas to expand and focus a little more of the characters that have formed the basis of Piczle’s story elements.
By adding traditional 2D RPG action elements, such as simple puzzles, inventory items, a world map and trophies, as well as being able to control Score-chan as the main character and interact with the world of Piczle and its inhabitants I truly believe I can add an extra layer of enjoyment to nonograms. It’s not merely about clearing a number of puzzles. Players will want to explore, interact, receive trophies, find secrets, and generally have a purpose to seek out all the puzzles in this 2D world.
In this devblog I will address some design decisions, technical choices, how I drive the game with data, all the extra features included in the game (there are a lot!) and reveal some of the game’s elements I hope you will all enjoy. If there are certain elements of development or design you’d want me to address please leave a comment or get in touch through firstname.lastname@example.org!