Pic Pic - Nintendo DS (505 Games)

Firstly, lets praise 505 for taking the step and localizing an entirely unknown title and intellectual property. Of course, being that the game itself is unlikely to outsell any of the DS' triple A titles that encourage activities such as reading recipe books, giving up smoking or equestrian pursuits, it truly is a magnanimous act that 505 have taken on in gracing the west with such a beautifully effective time killer.

Pic Pic is not a really a game, but rather a set of logic puzzles or excersises in problem solving. Where Pic Pic differs from tabloid Sudoku or broadsheet Kakuro, is in its resolution. Here, the creators have finally tapped one of the fundamental differences between pen and paper and the handheld console as time wasting mediums: smudged and smeared biro columns are satisfactory; beautifully crafted pieces of pixel art are satisfying.

Each of the 1200 puzzles, split equally across the modes 'Maze Paint' (trace a single line A to B), 'Drawing' (draw lines in jagged right angles between corresponding numbers) and 'Magipic' (reason out the number of touching coloured tiles via minesweeper empiricism), result in a simply titled but beautifully formed, colour image. Only in beginning to dent the wealth of puzzling Pic Pic offers can you appreciate just how much love, effort and time has been pumped into each flat panel masterpiece.

Excitement (in the loosest sense of the word) is built around the Rolf Harris ethic, and each connected line or reasoned 3x3 square fizzes with his eager Australasian rhetoric. Watching a set of cutlery slowly materialise on the top screen satiates the constant ringing "can you guess what it is yet?", and you, as player, slowly change from audience; observing the household brushes lash paint onto a 15ft canvas, to author; taking responsibility to change early mistakes as the outback scrubland capture becomes clearer to the eye of the holder.

The music is repetitive, but easily muted with a deft flick of the volume dial. The presentation is dull in its functionality, but does allow for easy scrollbar viewing of all completed works. The labyrynthine trial and error progress of "Maze Paint" can feel like laborious trial and error at times, but is to be expected given the source.

Pic Pic is an example of a game where certain aspects outweigh the sum of its parts. Put simply, Pic Pic is essential.


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