Adventure time!

The base of Piczle Cross Adventure is the nonogram puzzling. It’s what the player will be doing most of. But what exactly is the “adventure” part of the title? What elements am I using to underpin the logic-puzzling gameplay?

Piczle Cross Adventure will have an actual story that is more fleshed out than “even” Piczle Lines DX. I know all previous Piczle stories have been slight, fun distractions that merely added some window-dressing to the main game (the logic-puzzles). Even though it is still mostly a MacGuffin to give an excuse to the puzzles, this time some characters will be fleshed out a bit and a real antagonist is introduced. You get to chat with NPCs, get more of a feel of Score-chan’s sassytude and learn a little more about the professor, in a roundabout way.

The antagonist has already been hinted at in a previous game. Players of Piczle games might enjoy seeing a thread picked up again (and a “previously on” prologue will also make non-Piczle fans feel included). This story has been sketched out to add to the Piczle canon and grow the world to build on in future Piczle titles. In a sense I’m atoning for Piczle Colors’ story, which I had to “optimise” due to development schedule issues.

Due to scheduling constraints Piczle Colors’ story was cut down to just an intro and an outro to the entire game (though originally story segments were planned to appear in between each of the coloured levels)

Not only is there a world to walk around in, there is a world map (once you acquire it in-game). It shows where you are and if you’ve completed certain areas. The map screen also shows you a tally of your progress. It really fleshes out the world of Piczle and its mysterious geographically dubious location.

Mostly, each area in the game serves as a “theme” of sorts. Rather than selecting a puzzle pack in Piczle Lines DX and playing the themes from that pack, you have to find your way to a specific area – sometimes not an easy matter – to play the puzzles themed around that particular area. On top of that there is the enjoyment of seeing these areas get “fixed up” as you clear the puzzles.

On the map screen you can see where you are and how much of the game you’ve cleared (not yet implemented). Areas that contain unsolved puzzles appear in black & white, areas with all puzzles cleared appear in colour.

Clearing puzzles gives you experience, or “XP”. Earn enough XP and you level up! There are a couple of benefits from levelling up, mostly it has been put there to fake the JRPG style of the adventure and to do some basic railroading. There are puzzles that need solving and items to find to progress into certain areas, but sometimes puzzles require you to have reached a certain level to clear. This is used sparingly, though. Mostly you can follow your nose and play the puzzles as you uncover the world in-game, but occasionally you need to do certain things first.

Flashy LEVEL UP animations and “stats” appear when you earn enough XP.

Some puzzles lead to items that you can take with you. They appear in your inventory in the in-game menu. Often these items can then be used with world locations or objects to progress or uncover secrets.

The inventory screen. You start off with a steps counter and your mobile phone (with cracked screen) so you can stay in touch with the professor.

On top of all this there are hidden secrets, something akin to the Gig sticker hunt in the mobile version of Piczle Lines DX, that eventually unlocks something cool. There are mini-games, of course. There are references and jokes.

Piczle Cross Adventure is much more of a game than any of the previous Piczle titles. But through all that I am well aware that the main hero is still the logic-puzzle. This is first and foremost still a Piczle picture puzzle game. Using all these fun tropes of JRPGs and adventures I hope I can elevate the experience for puzzle-fans as well as introduce new players to the fun of logic-puzzles.

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