TylerK's Picross


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TylerK's PicrossPicross is pixel painting for the logic minded. The recent entry for Alien in the Room: Reloaded had a puzzle in it that was called Picross. This entry is for everyone who enjoyed that puzzle. If you have also enjoyed the Sudoku and logic puzzle games, TylerK's Picross offers a visual twist.

Picross was invented in Japan by Tetsuya Nishio according to Wikipedia. It is often featured in puzzle magazines and was even made into a game for the Nintendo Game Boy. There were even more video game versions released in Japan. Still, this is not going to be a game for everybody. There are also several web versions out there. TylerK's is by far the best rendition I have found.

Gameplay: The game presents a grid with a series of numbers on the top and left side. The numbers denote exactly how many of the squares in that row or column are to be filled in what size groups and in what order. Since this is a visual puzzle the best descriptions have pictures. I don't have pictures, but I do have links to some sites that can help you if you are confused on the game play or strategies: Paint by numbers and Nonogram puzzle.

Pros: TylerK has one of the few Flash versions of the game that I have seen, making it much more appealing than the plenty of Java versions that are out there. His version allows both known filled squares and known empty squares to be entered. His version allows the numbers to be checked off as you work on the puzzle. His version allows groups of the same type to be entered all at the same time by click and dragging. There is no ticking clock to add unneeded pressure to the puzzle. The puzzle knows when it is solved and immediately stops. The level menu notes which puzzles you have already solved.

Cons: My biggest complaint is the lack of a check button that would show where you have a problem such as too many filled in squares. For such a high caliber game this seems like a relatively simple task. There is also no persistence in solving levels. If you exit your browser and come back to the site, all of the puzzles are once again marked unsolved. Finally, there is not the wide variety of puzzles that are found when using Java versions.

A good diversion and a good presentation, but there is still room for improvement for this game.

TylerK's Picross was created by Tyler Kane, who is a member of the band The Timmys from Springfield, Illinois. Even though the game is hosted on The Timmys website, there is presently no readily available link to the game from there. And while there is little information available for Tyler, he appears to be the webmaster for the site.

Update: The game is no longer available.

47 Comments

Zengief - a very nice, and timely, review. =)

Certainly not the prettiest Flash implementation by any measure, and yet this type of game offers a good challenge for anyone willing to invest a little time to solve a puzzle.

My strategies included:
1) Begin with the rows and columns that have large numbers, such as 10 and above. Start counting from each end and find the cells containing the overlap—mark those cells as filled.

2) Once you've completed the larger numbers, work your way down to the 8's and 9's. You may be able to fill one or two more squares, if you're lucky.

3) Keep in mind that there must be at least one empty cell between filled ones. Use this to your advantage by marking the cells that must be empty.

4) Use the information that you are sure of from the preceding steps to help you determine the states of the other squares.

When I first began a puzzle it felt as if it was going to be impossibly hard to do. Perseverence paid off, and I solved the puzzle on my first attempt without any mistakes. =)

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Very good game, and review, Zengief. I actually have a book of this exact type of puzzle, which are widely available in England. I can't remember what they were called, but it was not Picross. Anyway, great game. As a shameless and unrelated self plug, though, my blog has a new layout and I'd love it if anyone wanted to check it out. It has games. . .two of them, actually. It's still in its baby stages, I'm afraid. Anyway, that's off topic. Great game, Zengief!

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WARNING:
This game is highly addictive.
Do not start to play it if you have something scheduled to be done in the next 6 hours. ;)

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This is an interesting game. Love it! This is my ultimate favorite type of game. how do you know if you got the puzzle done correctly. does it take you to the next puzzle. I did the first one. I got the picture, but how do i know if i got every space marked correctly? Or do i just assume since i got the picture that it is right?

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Steff - from the review:

"The puzzle knows when it is solved and immediately stops."

I would add that the game then announces the puzzle is solved, and indicates the 'name' of what the picture represents. In the case of the screen shot, it's a "camel jockey."

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Ahh yes, I use to play picross on the SNES... those were fun days, but only available in japanese :)

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Yay! I got a Games Magazine subscription souly for these puzzles.

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I love these! My favorite site for puzzles of this ilk is griddlers.net, requires registration but has both the square picross puzzles and something called "triddlers," where the puzzle shapes are triangular and you have six different intersecting rows of clues to work with.

Their java implementation has lots of convenient shortcuts built in (hold alt and click to fill in large chunks, optional X's and O's that can be put in puzzle squares as well as on clues, and multicolor and multipart puzzles. Check it out if you get the chance.

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It seems at least a few of you have seen this type of games with a different name. I have done Japanese crosword puzzles for some time. They have a bit different history, but the game is the same. There is lots of sites dedicated to this crosword puzzles all around the internet.

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This is fun! \(^o^)/
... and dangerously addictive..

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Yeah, I agree XD I've been doing it for at least 2 hours now XD

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can't remember whether I tried posting this before, but does anyone have other websites for this type of games?

:-)

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I think it's hilarious and cool that the sound effects are in stereo - click a left hand square, get a left hand pop, and vice versa. Nice touch!

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Just wondering, has anyone completely finished it all?

I still have a few hard ones (well imo they're hard) left X_X

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suppersaddlersjosh October 1, 2005 4:45 AM

how do u know how many gaps to leave

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fanatical Author Profile Page October 3, 2005 5:22 PM

Jewlzeh - which ones are you stuck on? I just finished them all, with no guessing... so you can be assured they all have solutions.

suppersaddlersjosh - the numbers themselves don't tell you the exact number of gaps to leave, but you know there is at least one at the end of each set of consecutive squares that you've filled in (according to the numbers given). hope that helps!

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I have a huge book of puzzles (mostly math based) and these types of puzzles are called Tsunami's. They are wonderfully addictive.

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Great game.

My only grudge with it (together with the one mentioned in jay's review about not saving progress..grumph) is that all of the puzzles are of the same size, and quite easy once you get the hang of it. Grids of different sizes would be a vast improvement.

Btw, in my country we have a puzzle magazine which every few months publishes a monster of a puzzle of this kind. It's usually very hard and time-consuming but when you solve it it's much more satisfying. Also the picture looks much better and detailed.

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I just did 8 of the first 9 levels without noticing that the numbers are in the order that they appear in the corresponding row. That will make things ALOT easier.

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The only one I cannot do is 11. Can someone give me a hint without spoiling the whole puzzle?

For example, which ones are filled in the right hand and bottom three sets of 5? It's very difficult as as far as I can tell, only guessing can get me through it. Though, that has so-far failed.

Or could you tell me which ones are lit up in the colums/rows which only have 1 or 1,1 on them?

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I completed level 11 and at the same time, all of the puzzles. I am so satisfied right now.

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Gohst, here is a hint for 11, hope it helps you.

In the second last row and column (one has four 1's and the other has five 1's)all of the black squares are THREE spaces apart( black-space-space-black-space-space, etc). This should help you if you first fill in all the lines which have 0.

I only have number 14 left to complete. Does anyone have any hints?

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Finally finished! I wish there was a big finish though. Other than that, great game!

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Finished! What an anti-climactic ending...

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Celtic.Slave May 16, 2006 12:50 PM

Can someone help me with #9? I'm kind of stuck...

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Celtic.Slave May 16, 2006 1:58 PM

Could someone please hint on number 8?

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I DONT UNDERSTAND! I looked at all the links with instructions and still nothing. I'm probably thinking about it to much! Please someone explain.

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Josh Armstrong June 1, 2006 2:44 AM

How do I know which order the numbers work? IE on the side if it says 2 4 3 then does that mean the leftmost set is 2, then the next is 4, and the last is 3? And the same sequence top-bottom would the top be 2? Or is it from the inside-out?

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Preston June 8, 2006 10:17 PM

Why doesn't this thing work anymore?

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Shanie-Poo June 22, 2006 4:32 PM

Srsly. It wont work. x_x and I never got a chance to play it.

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The game works for me. (shrugs)

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pinguino_ann Author Profile Page July 2, 2006 9:11 PM

Yessssss! Finished them all!

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no matter what i do or how i do it, level 6 doesnt work out for me

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Addictive!!...
I have finished them all...
I need more ;)

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"My biggest complaint is the lack of a check button that would show where you have a problem such as too many filled in squares. For such a high caliber game this seems like a relatively simple task. There is also no persistence in solving levels. If you exit your browser and come back to the site, all of the puzzles are once again marked unsolved. Finally, there is not the wide variety of puzzles that are found when using Java versions."

Oh no! Oh no, oh no oh no! That completely ruins such logic puzzles! I really, really can't agree with you there, the whole point of such logic puzzles is laboriously checking them through.

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hey i probably sound really dumb but i cant figure out how to solve these. like i dont know how or where to start. can someone help me out.

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if ur haveing trouble with #6

look at the pic at the top of the page the camel

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Man, i was tryna find this for ages coz i couldnt remember the name n i wanned to play

but these rock! ones with multiple colours are so hard though

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it appears the Timmy's have changed web hosts and this game is no longer available. hopefully when they get their new site set up Tyler will put the game back up too.

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Is anyone else having trouble on 21?

I get what looks like an amoeba, but I have a problem in the bottom right corner. Any help?

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Shannon June 5, 2007 12:18 PM

These are so addictive, I love these kinds of puzzles. The solution to 24 made me laugh out loud...

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Fubsadoo June 6, 2007 2:23 PM

if you like these try www.griddlers.net

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Jay (another Jay) November 13, 2007 5:20 PM

This is an okay arrangement of puzzles, but I have to say that having to use both the keyboard and mouse is tedious and unnecessary. Almost every other site that has pixel puzzles uses either a left-to-fill, right-to-cross-out system, or left clicking cycles between filled, crossed out, and empty. Frankly, I've seen such good implementation using java that I don't see why this flash version is such an advantage.

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Someone either in this forum or another about TK's Picross said not to touch this game if you have things you should be doing.

I'd just like to reaffirm that. But, I'm determined to finish level 11 so that I can finish a game I need to turn in for class in 11 hours!

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So I decided to tackle #11 again after finishing the rest of the puzzles. After doing so many, I guess I picked up some tricks to solving these things because it was a breeze!

Hints for solving (hints...not spot locations):
Hint #1:

Obviously, cross out all the 0 rows and columns first.

Hint #2:

Find any rows or columns that have numbers greater than 1 in them and see if there are places they absolutely cannot go; cross those out. Ex. in #11: In the 3-3 row, the second set of 3 can't fit into the spaces available in the last columns, so cross out those spots.

Hint #3:

Try to identify all the possible places/orientations for a set to go in a row or column and try to find squares that occur in every orientation. Those spots will be colored in no matter what, so fill those bad boys in. Ex. in #11: Look at all the places that the set of 4 can fit into. One spot will be in that set no matter what. You can try this with multiple sets at a time (ie. the 2-1-2-1 row) to find multiple overlapping spots.

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Can someone please explain this simply? The things on wikipedia are too complicated. This game really needs instructions...

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Seems like the game is gone. Too bad; it was one of the better Picross implementations.

Anyone got a mirror?

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