Armor Picross 2


armorpicross2.gifJohnBI. Love. Picross. It isn't as number-heavy as sudoku, doesn't rely on obscure trivia like a crossword puzzle, and the combination of left- and right-brained activity achieves a perfect harmony. And when paper and pencil puzzles won't cut it, there are dozens of online incarnations of the popular game, including a few downloadable picross titles that offer more puzzles than I could ever dream of completing. Then along comes Armor Picross 2 with its shiny graphics, easy-to-use interface and countless sets of puzzles. In other words, a little slice of picross heaven.

If you're unfamiliar with picross (also called nonograms), here's the scoop. Each grid is surrounded by sets of numbers that correspond to a column or row. The numbers are your clues to which tiles on the grid need to be filled in and which should be left blank. For example, if a column shows "4 2" at the top, that means there's a group of four squares filled in, followed by at least one space, and then a group of two filled squares. The challenge is finding out where the filled groups begin and how many blank spaces to put where. If it sounds confusing, don't worry, it's simple. Just start playing and within a few seconds you'll get the hang of it.

Your main activity is filling in squares or marking them with an 'X', both of which are achieved with the mouse in this game. To fill a square simply click on it, and to mark an X hold shift while clicking. You can also click and drag to fill whole rows at once, but be aware that Armor Picross 2 won't confine your moves to the row you started drawing on, so a steady hand is required.

Armor Picross 2 does notify you when you make a wrong move, which picross purists may not like. Each puzzle gives you five chances to mess up without clearing the puzzle, but there are no hints, so it almost balances out. Besides, if you're a picross pro, you won't make mistakes in the first place, right? Puzzles are timed but there's no limit and therefore no need to rush. Just sit back, organize your thoughts and get your picross on. There are plenty of puzzles to keep you busy for quite some time.

Analysis: The two major sellings points for any computer version of picross are puzzle variety and interface. Armor Picross 2 nails both of these. The click/shift-click method is about as simple as it gets (seeing as how the right mouse button isn't used), so you won't fumble and make the wrong move by accident. The visuals are big, sleek, and easy to see, even in later levels when the board is dozens of columns wide. When it comes to online picross games, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better implementation than this one.

Play Armor Picross 2

39 Comments

If you like Picross, try http://www.griddlers.net/
(registration required).

I think that is much more comfortable to play and aesthetically advanced :)

My favorite version is still the Palm OS game PictureLogic. I had high hopes for PicrossDS on the Nintendo DS, but it was disappointing.

And I don't think sudoku is "number-heavy" at all. Sudoku's a logic game; the numbers may as well be letters, or colors, or pictures of animals, or meaningless symbols. Picross has math; sudoku does not.

Okay, a minute later, having played this, I can't play it anymore. I don't know if it's a Firefox bug, or a Mac bug, or what, but once I click the mouse button is stuck down and just mousing over a square puts a mark there. Beep beep beep beep and all lives lost as soon as you move the mouse.

Yes, griddlers is THE place to go for this kind of puzzles. It requires registration but that nuisance is quickly done and you have literally thousands of puzzles on your disposal. They are also extremely well indexed by size, difficulty, popularity, type... simply something for everyone.

Armor Picross is fun, but too gimmicky in trying to insert "action" elements in a puzzle game (lives, limited time etc.). It's a fun distraction, but since Griddlers fill my picross needs so well I find it a bit redundant and unneeded.

My favorite Picross game is and will always be Picross DS, from Nintendo. It's $30, and you need a Nintendo DS, of course, but it's totally worth it. The game has a feature that automatically eliminates clues for you. For example, if the clue for the row is 11111, and you've already figured out that the first box in the row is filled in, then that first 1 in the clue will be greyed out. Also, the entire row is greyed out if you make an impossible move. (which is a moot point if the game points out mistakes for you, but whatever) It's a trivial little feature, inspired by laziness, but it takes sooooo much frustration out of the game. If you love Picross and have a little money to burn, Picross DS is definitely the way to go.

I absolutely <3 picross, but it is hard to find sometimes. I'm soo happy that there is another game!

Hmm, it's funny. I've never viewed sudoku as a "number heavy" type of puzzle. In reality, Sudoku could be played with any group of things, as long as there were nine different things in the group (for example, you really could play Sudoku with the letters A-I). This is why I like Sudoku so much, because it's a logic puzzle disguised as a math puzzle.

However, I've never given picross enough of a chance, so here goes!

Is this game about doing the pictogram perfectly the first time, or is it about time? Why do I need to make mistakes, memorize where they were, and come back in a 2nd time to do the puzzle without making those same mistakes? This will ultimately shorten the time it takes me to complete a pictogram since I will eventually learn where all the empty holes are and not fill in those squares, but all in one pass. Therefore the apparent measure of my skill in this game is how long it takes to complete a pictogram. Naturally I am going to try to achieve the best time by memorizing where the empty holes are and just doing the puzzles by rote.
I would change this game by keeping the mistakes but allowing them to accumulate until I solve the puzzle. In the end, my skill would be determined by time taken AND mistakes made (as in sudoku or crossword).

Another good site for these is www.conceptispuzzles.com. These guys make the difficult ones for Games magazine.

Please fix the links at top - I can't add this one to faves.

This site has many color picross puzzles of different difficulties: http://www.blindchicken.com/~ali/pbn/index.html#puzzles

I have just a couple of quibbles with this game.

First, it's not easy enough to see which ones you have completed. But that's really just a minor issue and perhaps if I paid more attention it'd be easier.

Secondly, the really annoying thing about it is the losing of lives upon making mistakes. While I appreciate this is probably done to liven up the game a little, it really puts me off. A few times I've made mistakes late on only to lose all my lives and have to begin again. It's almost part of the charm to go completely wrong and end up with something wonky. This isn't an action game, it's a puzzle game and I should be allowed to go wrong if I do.

I do like the timing though. The puzzles with limits seem to be generous enough not to trouble you and the average time is a great incentive to think a little bit quicker. Overall, not bad but it's not something I'll be coming back to again and again, I'll stick with a pencil and paper. :)

Yikes. As a picross fan, I like neither this implementation nor the review.

This is the opposite of a good picross interface. A good picross interface lets me click-drag to make rectangles like TylerK's linked implementation does. An improvement to TylerK's would be to let me use a modifier key that also prevents overwriting oppositely marked squares. I may have seen that in some other implementation.

What this implementation ends up doing is mixing a puzzle game with a "tactile discipline" game (is there a better term for that? shouldn't it be one of the jig tags? is it just "arcade"?), which doesn't seem like a good juxtaposition. I don't want to lose a 'life' for straying off a line I'm marking. Seems like a silly constraint for the type of puzzle-solving involved in picross. A timer is fine.

The review seems to anticipate these complaints, then preemptively responds by labeling the complainers "purists" and implying that if you don't enjoy this particular kind of gameplay you're not a "picross pro." Not a big deal, but mildly annoying.

The implementation i used to play is now gone :/ Most similar I can find is:
http://www.blindchicken.com/~ali/games/puzzles.html
click-drag: color
drag + shift - clear
drag + ctrl - X/eliminate

-numpf

Along with others I have to say griddlers.net beats all. I bought Picross for the DS and even though I like it I find myself frustrated by its small size and lack of color puzzles. I love griddlers so much and with its left/right click and practically infinite puzzles (including 'triddlers' with 3 sides!) it will always beat everything. Plus its FREE!

The absolute best Picross implementation I've seen is the shareware Descartes Enigma by Everett Kaser. Armor Picross and Picross DS suffer a little from lack of right-click. Descartes Enigma also keeps track of when rows are finished, auto-finishes them for you if it's just white space left, and displays counts of grid spaces in rows and columns. (So you don't have to painstakingly count to figure out if there are 23 blank spaces, or 24.)

I can appreciate the passion for picross represented here in the comments (being a picross fan myself) but can we please stay on-topic (it's a review for Armor Games' Picross 2) and not turn this into a link dump for every picross implementation out there?

If you feel strongly about a particular implementation of picross, we invite you to put your energy into writing a review for said implementation instead, and submit it to us using the "Suggest a Game" link in the menu just under the banner of every page. =)

Hmmm, I like it. Fun and addicting, that's all that matters to me. And I totally love the lives system too. If you make too many mistakes, you're probably not trying hard enough anyway.

oh sure jay, then after you publish it we get to feel like you do when no one stays on topic to the review. hehehe, no thanks. ;)

I guess the quality of this implementation depends on your experience with Picross.

If you are new to Picross, and interested in trying it out, I believe this is a good enough implementation, and it's fun because of the addition of lives and a timer, so it draws people in who would perhaps not usually be interested in logic games.

On the other hand, if you're a die-hard Picross solver/fan, then this is really just a rather bland implementation. It only really has the Picross part of a Picross puzzle, meaning that they decided to put in simple puzzles and then stopped at that. Although I'll admit that the ability to drag your mouse to mark parts of the grid, instead of having to click every field, is a good thing.

But it lacks a lot of features, that would add so much value to any Picross game. Like it has been said, the addition of colour puzzles, and some options, like being able to decide how you want to mark the fields, and whether or not you want the game to automatically fill out the remaining fields in a row/column. And also a reset button would be nice. Some of the programs/websites that have been mentioned so far, I agree with, in terms of being great sources for good Picross puzzles, but in respect of Jay, I won't mention any names. :P

So all in all, since I am a Picross fan, I'd have to say that this implementation is no better or worse than so many others that I have seen, and you might as well just continue solving Picross on paper.

Jay, from the number of people who have suggested other picross versions/implementations, having everyone write in with their favorite implementations might turn into "picross thursdays" to precede link dump fridays. Why not do some sort of feature every now and then that spotlights one particular type of puzzle game, such as picross, sudoku, or lights out, and have people write short blurbs about specific implementations? You could even do features on a specific gameplay idea/motif--like top-down zombie shooters or something.

Just a thought.

Good idea Scramble. As with any issue like this that comes up, I'm usually trying to find the opportunity that exists within it, and so I have also been thinking of ways to accommodate a similar discussion.

And I think I have come up with something. Give me some time to formalize this into a new feature for the site, and we'll have something up soon. :)

I think I have an idea of what you're referring to and I am looking forward to seeing what you implement.

Is it just me, or is this game too easy? Because I can easily complete some of the hardest puzzles in the extreme pack that are meant to take around 70 minutes, in only 15-20 minutes without any difficulty whatsoever.

Is there a sound control? The background music is really nice, for a casual game, but I can't play my regular music with it.

I can be called as a purist in this respect. I happened to find this game one day earlier than you reviewed it.
I disagree with you in almost every respect...
The worst thing was that the pictures were bad! Part of the excellence of nonograms is the award of seeing a nice picture.
Playing this made me actually angry!
You had Conceptis in your Friday list a couple of weeks ago. Their implemantation is much better than this. No right-clicks needed, since they support Mac also. And only one hand needed during the game.
Even Griddlers is better, even though their pictures lack some quality sometimes and their colours are too close together to be able to separate them from another.

Besides Conceptis will be launching their new Flash solution soon, so keep posted!

To die in a nongram game, awwww....!

As a picross n00b, this has been a fun game to play, and I probably will check out some of the others mentioned here. My only complaint so far with Armor Picross 2 is the music. Yes, its not bad, but after playing for over an hour, it starts to get repetitive, and I'd prefer to be able to turn it off and listen to my own music.

Yes, in retrospect it's not really nice to talk about other picross implementations instead of doing what comments here really should be for, and that is commenting on the game being reviewed.

However, the problem is that this game isn't really that good, yet it is getting a glowing review. I think it's only natural that one wants to tell people if they like this sort of puzzle, they are better off playing it somewhere else. Especially if the reviewer tries to pitch this game as "a little slice of picross heaven" and ends his review with "When it comes to online picross games, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better implementation than this one". Isn't it practically an invitation to trump him with a superior implementation right off the bat?

I had two problems with this game (and I wonder if it is the implementation on the Mac?):

1)As soon as I filled all of the Xed out squares, even if I had not filled all of the picture squares, the game ended. I never got to see the final picture.

2)If I filled a 0 line with Xes, the game automatically ended. :(

But I agree for someone who hasn't been playing this game for years (I've been a Games mag subscriber since about '92!), if you can get past those hurdles it's a great entry point.

Jay--I am psyched to see what you come up with to allow some sort of regular visitor review. I can't wait to stop by every day and get my fix.

Yes, baba44713, I agree with your reasoning. The review does seem to invite some discussion.

drtrosy - visitors may at any time submit a review by using the Suggest a Game link in the menu at the top of every page. There is an area in which to paste a complete review if you wish.

We have published many "reader reviews" that have been submitted in this way.

I'm also in the process of implementing a few site upgrades that will make that process even easier.

Oooh! Site upgrades? Sounds great!

The only problem with this game was, like stated numerous times above my comment, the 5 lives and you're out. I can't stand when sudoku puzzles do that, and I feel the same way for picross.

Ok, I found that if you go into the settings you can turn off the music and then enjoy your own personal blend.

I loved this game, and I absolutely love the music. Does anyone have a link of sorts to the music for the game?

I actually prefer this version over the other version posted today, simply for the fact that this version will tell you if you put a square in the wrong place. I got overwhelmed playing the other version >.>

Anyways, I really enjoyed this game. Hopefully they'll make another one, maybe without the lives system and a "Retry Puzzle" option so you don't have to go menu crawling to find a puzzle if you fail it?

Granted, I haven't looked at griddlers (or whatever that other site is), but this is the best online Picross game I've seen yet.

I like that you have the ability to guess when you're making educated guesses (or really stuck), but I also don't like the "limited lives". Perhaps it would be better if you were assessed a time penalty on an error (30 seconds? a minute?).

(As for the music, I don't know about the piano, but at least one of the Guitar Pieces is Pat Metheny.)

Hey Jay, the link for Picross 2 doesn't work anymore. Armor Games seems to have re-organized or something so now the game is stored at http://armorgames.com/play/338/armor-picross-2

A big downside to this is that the flash memory they use to save your progress is reset so I have no record of which puzzles I've solved.

Thanks, macaaroni! I've updated the links accordingly.

And you're right, that's one very unfortunately downside to sites rearranging their pages. =/

It's fun, but the lives kind of ruined it for me. I found a picross website (I'm sure somebody already mentioned it) called griddlers.net, which I think is a lot more fun. It's got colors! Hooray for colors!

Alrighty. So this is the first picross game I've yet to come across and, therefore, my first time playing. And I must input that I love this version. After playing it, I compared it with other versions, and found that I, surprisingly, liked the fact of having 'lives.' I suppose that it could be the fact that this is the game interface that I was introduced to and had it been the other way around I would possibly dislike it along with others. But that's not the case. and I love it. Great review, Jay! :D

> so you won't fumble and make the wrong move

lol ... not me. Would be nice if Ctrl-click worked like Shift-click 'cuz that's where I lose the most points. Otherwise, great game! I'm addicted.

Heyyy
i like this game, but that annoying life thing gets iin the way. it should tell you when you make a mistake but it zhould be split into like 5 parts, and if you lose all your lifes you go back to the part where you last died...or something like that
anyway, isnt it annoying when people advertise "GOOO TO GRIDDLERS =D" with a little link. seriously, try not to advertise :P especially when you have to log in. like 40% of the people cant be bothered :P 7.5/10

I really wish the game didn't tell you what you're making before you even start the level. Half the fun of picross is finally finishing and going, "OMG, that wasn't a boat it was a muffin!" Takes all the surprise out of it if you already know what's coming.

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