Completing a crossword or a sudoku puzzle in the daily newspaper is a simple pleasure for many of us. In recent years the DS has been muscling in on their dominance, boasting a wide range of puzzle games aimed at a variety of demographics. Colour Cross is one of the latest titles available for the handheld that sets out to offer more than the daily newspaper and to test the grey matter in a more vibrant manner.
Colour Cross is a hybrid of nonograms with the extra dimension of (wait for it) colour. Traditional nonograms, or picross as they are more commonly referred to in video games are solved by using the numbers above and to the side of each column and row of the grid. The numbers given show the number of squares in the grid that are to be filled, with multiple numbers indicating that there are a number of blocks of squares to be filled in. For example 3, 2, 3 in a 10×10 grid would indicate that there’s a block of 3, 1 empty square, a block of 2, and another empty square with the remaining 3 squares filled. Whilst it sounds difficult, in practice it’s rather simple. With Colour Cross, instead of having numbers informing you of how many squares are to be filled in, it now tells you how many squares are of a certain colour.
After a comprehensive albeit non-interactive tutorial you’re let loose onto 150 puzzles set over 10 themes. Starting off simple, the initial puzzles of each theme are a breeze to solve, with the later puzzles offering a challenge for even the most competent puzzle solvers. Unfortunately due to some of the solutions being made up of a few squares, there are occasions when it is difficult to identify what the picture is actually of once completed.
The DS’s touch screen features are used to complete the puzzles and it works well when stationary. Although it’s a different matter when travelling, as the slightest bump makes it impossible to hit the intended square, meaning a time penalty will be more likely. This would have been solved if the game had supported the button interface more; oddly the buttons allow the player to do everything but fill the actual grid. Another draw back is the fact the game only has 1 mode with the prospect of replaying puzzles to improve upon previous times. I can’t help but feel that there should be more on offer like weekly downloadable puzzles or even the ability to create and upload your own puzzles.
The biggest problem for me however is the price. Coming in at around £18 it’s hardly expensive but the fact that you can buy a puzzle book offering the same sort of thing for a fraction of the price makes it kind of hard to swallow. Although the ability to replay the puzzles either yourself or in one of the other player profiles might make Colour Cross more desirable.
All in all Colour Cross is a great example of a puzzle game. Offering puzzle difficulties to suit all generations, this could be the ideal family game. Not to mention that the simple addition of colour offers more aesthetically pleasing solutions over games like Picross DS. Sadly the game looses points for not having controls suitable for travelling and for having no extra game modes or interesting features. Still when all is said and done, I’d rather pull this out in a tea break or in the evening than try to make sense of a sudoku puzzle.