Hungry Cat Picross
There are a lot of nice things in the world, but the feeling you get when you figure out how to solve a tough puzzle is uniquely gratifying. Hungry Cat Picross is a new game for Android and iOS that not only provides hundreds of puzzles, but places a new twist on the rules of picross.
The basic principles are the same as standard colored picross puzzles: you're given a grid, and the numbers on the sides of the grid correspond to the number of squares of each color in that row or column. The big difference is that in Hungry Cat Picross, the clues are sorted by color instead of by number. This opens up a whole new world of puzzles: there are a lot of possible combinations when seven blue squares can be split up into groups of any size. You're not without any help, though: if a clue has a circle around it, that means that all squares of that color will be in one contiguous group. Otherwise, you know that the three red squares in that column will be split up somehow. Instead of only looking for large numbers at first, it's helpful to find rows and columns with the fewest colors and try to work with them. You can also earn or buy magic paintbrushes to help fill in trouble spots. There's even a "Hypothesis Mode" where you can test out your ideas without completely messing things up if you're wrong.
Once you get the hang of the big change in gameplay, Hungry Cat Picross has a world of puzzles to explore. Not only are there 320 regular puzzles in a variety of sizes and difficulty levels, but every week there's a new giant puzzle that you solve piece by piece. The interface is smooth and easy to work with; even on the largest grids it's easy to fill the cells you intend to fill. The graphics are adorable as well. The hungry cat that gives this game its name watches as you fill in the grid, starts snoring if you go idle, and celebrates when you solve a puzzle, all while wearing an adorable beret. Little painty pawprints surround your finger or stylus as you color the squares. The game isn't perfect, though: in particular, it can be hard to differentiate between similar colors on certain puzzles. Changing the background color can help with that, though, and the challenge and the novelty of the gameplay definitely makes up for the cosmetic issue. The hungry cat needs sardines, after all!
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the LG Optimus L9. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.