Now this is my kind of game! Available for both iOS and Android devices, Pixel Puzzle Collection merges Picross style gameplay with trivia on Konami games of the past, classic and lesser-known titles alike. It’s free to boot, and even though it’s chock-a-block of ads, they’re minimally invasive.
Puzzles are selected randomly and come sized in 5×5, 10×10, and 15×15 grids. I find the larger puzzles a little difficult to play on my phone, even though there’s a zoom feature; I’m sure they’d be perfect on a tablet. That said, the controls are surprisingly precise. I’ve grown fond of using a stylus, but when using my fingers, I’m impressed by how accurate my selections are, even when I feel I fat-fingered it.
When the squares in a row or column have been filled in according to the hints (correctly or incorrectly, mind you), the remaining squares are automatically marked out. This is such a smart feature that speeds up completion of puzzles, in addition to just being well-suited for gameplay on the small screen. In fact, this is the first time I’ve seen this feature in a nonogram game, and it’s honestly made it hard to play other similar games. It’s like playing open-world games in the wake of Breath of the Wild and desperately wanting the ability climb and glide.
Each puzzle falls into a category, such as sports, Gradius, Bomberman, etc. Upon completion, each puzzle’s title is revealed and a short blurb details trivia about the subject. This aspect reminded me of the trophies from the Super Smash Bros. series, one of the rabbit holes that influenced my burgeoning passion for video games and their history, in the early aughts. The information conveyed is usually lackluster, however: the puzzles are often an item from a video game, described with little fanfare.
Besides the scads of one-off puzzles, there are “Mid Boss” and “Boss” puzzles. These are groupings of one-off puzzles that form a larger, more detailed image. Like almost every other puzzle, the Mid Boss puzzles appear randomly. The Boss puzzles on the other hand are restricted by a timer. Once a segment of a Boss puzzle has been completed, a 3-hour timer begins and has to deplete before another can be undertaken. This barrier has helped me savor the game, but with hundreds of non-gated puzzles to occupy myself, and no ability to throw some money Konami’s way to avoid playing the waiting game, its inclusion is puzzling.
An ad appears every time a puzzle is completed. However, these can be avoided by quickly tapping the screen anywhere: doing so causes the ad to not pop up. There are also banner ads along the bottom of the screen when idling at the menu. Thankfully, no ads interfere while actually completing puzzles. I feel it’s worth noting that these ads are solely for Konami offerings – all seven of them. Four ads are Pro Evolution Soccer related while a few of them aren’t even advertising phone apps but rather console games.
Pixel Puzzle Collection is a surprisingly competent Picross style game, never mind the fact that it’s a product of Konami! A nonogram game for phones with impressive controls, a smart feature that leaves other games lacking, and an apparent reverence for Konami’s glory days leave me hopeful for future Konami output. I mean, at the very least release compilations of your classic games! Regardless of what happens in the future, this is a great timewaster and worth the download.