B&W Pic-a-Pix Light
From the logic puzzle masters at Conceptis, creators of the recently-released Mix Sudoku Light, comes another great pencil and paper game transformed for your browser. B&W Pic-a-Pix Light, volume one, is an online version of picross that does one thing and does it very well. Instead of trying to dazzle you with pretty colors or distracting mini-games, Pic-a-Pix Light presents you with a simple, highly usable interface that allows you to get in, solve picross puzzles, and take a break whenever you like. It's another great entry in the logic puzzle universe that's primed to be your main stop for picross!
Pic-a-Pix puzzles are logic puzzles where you fill in squares on a grid that, when completed, form a picture. Numbers line the top and left sides of the screen, each indicating a number of blocks to fill. What they don't tell you, however, is how many empty spaces there are. For example, if a row says "2 3 1", you know there are two blocks that need to be filled in, followed by at least once space, followed by three more filled blocks, followed by a single filled square. By using logic you can gradually narrow down the possibilities until each segment is a certainty, carefully tagging each empty space and filled space with the correct marks.
B&W Pic-a-Pix Light has a few nice interface additions that make it easier to use than some other browser-based picross efforts. For starters, colored rulers highlight the row and column where your cursor is, allowing you to watch the entire area without tracing your eyes across the grid. When a row or column is complete, a triangle appears by the number clues — green if everything is correct, red if something isn't. And, if you're stuck or need a push, you can always ask the game to check the entire puzzle for accuracy or just show the solution.
Three grid sizes are available in B&W Pic-a-Pix Light — 5x5 to 10x10 and 15x15 — each with ten different puzzles to complete. All are accessible from the beginning of the game, so no worries about unlocking puzzles or getting stuck on a board and being unable to continue. You can even save and continue your work by using the icon at the top of the screen!
With all of its user-friendly features, B&W Pic-a-Pix Light sometimes steps on its own toes. For example, being a picross fan myself, I'm used to having the entire grid ready for my viewing pleasure at any moment. While the colored rulers were useful when working on a piece of the puzzle, I often thought they were in the way when I wanted to scan the rest of the board. Moving the cursor off of the screen clears the rulers, so it's not like it's a big issue. It would also be nice to have a keyboard shortcut for marking non-filled blocks instead of using a double click.
Conceptis knows logic puzzles, and it knows how to get them right. With the first volume of B&W Pic-a-Pix Light we see a great picross engine with a lot of promise. Once more puzzles (and more difficult puzzles) are added, this will be one of the heavy-hitting forces on the browser picross field!