Product Type: Rising Star Nintendo DS games
Newest Review: ... still be visible on the grid. However, on the line you were working on, the 4 2 2 would be replaced by a 1 1, meaning that two individu... more
Don't Get Cross - Get Colour Cross!
Colour Cross (DS)
Member Name: RayWhitney
Colour Cross (DS)
Advantages: Head-scratching gameplay, inexpensive, 150 puzzles
Disadvantages: Might not be enough variety for some people
Puzzle games have found their natural home on the Nintendo DS. The touchscreen allows for easier manipulation of all the blocks, gems and miscellaneous coloured shapes that the puzzle genre is so fond of, the dual screen allows for a straightforward way of providing all necessary information, and, of course, no console has ever had such a following in the older and/or female demographics. It doesn't hurt that a lot of these puzzlers don't ask for much of an investment, with most of them not requiring more than Ł20. Just look at the great range of affordable top quality gems in the DS' catalogue (in fact, take a look at the bottom of this review for my top ten). Here's a brand spanking new entry into that catalogue of conundrums and Columns, and it's called Colour Cross.
Many moons ago, before Sudoku landed on Earth and used its powers to hypnotise out fingers to do its bidding, the Sunday Telegraph used to publish a puzzle it called the 'Nonogram'. Grid-based like Sudoku, with each vertical and horizontal line having numbers by the side which indicate what squares in the line need to be filled in. Shade in the correct squares (via a combination of logic, deduction and fairy magic) and you will be rewarded with a picture. Like 'paint by numbers'. This game became popular with Nintendo, who have released a handful of nonogram video games over the years (under the name 'Picross'). Picross DS was the latest, and here we have its only real rival, Black Star Games' Colour Cross. The difference? The selling point? While the grids in Picross DS is only black and white, Colour Cross is... um... well, it's obviously in colour, isn't it?
The idea is to complete each puzzle in as little time as possible, using two or more different colours. Completion of puzzles unlocks more challenging puzzles and categories - in total, there are 150 puzzles split between 10 categories (with charmingly unique themes, such as 'Candy', 'Magic' and 'Babies'). Also, the categories have bigger pictures that are revealed bit-by-bit as you progress.
Each colour has its own numbers along the X and Y axis of the grid, and these numbers are switched between with a simple tap of the stylus. The numbers are the clue to solving your problems. They will generally be presented in a style like '5, 2, 5'. This means that, in this particular line, there will be a block of 5 squares in your current colour, then a block of 2, then another block of 5. They will be seperated by at least one empty (or different colour) square. It's your job to work out where those three chunks of colour are supposed to be, based on what's already on the grid and what the other number codes are saying. Of course, if the number is '7' then there will only be a string of 7 and 7 alone, and so on.
The question of whether or not having more than one shade in the mix makes the task more challenging is up for debate - at times, having a variety of colours to work with helps with the process of elimination, but at other times, the sheer range of options is mind-boggling. On the whole, Colour Cross is more difficult than it is not. Each puzzle requires a long sitdown and a ponder. However, it's a relaxing, thought-provoking game to play, and there is very little frustration, although the grids can be quite small in the later levels and it's easy for your stylus to slip. If this happens and you accidentally fill in a square that shouldn't be filled in, you will receive a time penalty. Do this enough times and you'll end up having a time of 43 minutes per puzzle. Which doesn't look very good.
Still, minor control issues aside, the presentation is perfect. Of course, it's the kind of game you can play with the sound down, but the background music is soothing and intellectual (for the DS' speakers, anyhow). Graphics are functional and mostly quite clear. Even if you do have trouble with the stylus, it's easy as anything to play the game with the D-pad and buttons, so Colour Cross is accessible to all kinds of players.
Colour Cross doesn't try to be anything more than a set of puzzles that let you look at fun pictures if you're good at working things out. There are no forced multiplayer modes, no gimmicks or time trials or blah blah blah. While Picross DS was loaded down with all kinds of modes, this is just pure puzzle. It's tough, it'll last a while, and it's fun. That's all you need really, isn't it?
Available at an RRP of Ł19.99 (and cheaper at most online retailers), this is an ideal budget purchase for the more intellectual gamer. I recommend it to anyone who doesn't need a barrage of guns, guts and goo to get some pleasure from a video game.
As an added bonus, and because I'm a top guy, here is my list of top ten classic puzzle games also available for the DS. This doesn't include Colour Cross, because I think I've already said enough about that!
* * * Bonus Stuff: My Top Ten Puzzle Games (Nintendo DS) * * *
Apply your newfound powers of deduction in this oriental-themed word game. Interesting and very cheap.
Explosive sci-fi based Tetris variant. You've gotta have nerves of steel for this one, as it's got one hell of a fast pace.
8. Bust-A-Move DS
Classic Puzzle Bobble action here. Shoot coloured balloons at more coloured balloons. Play as a dinosaur. Brilliant.
7. Pokémon Link
It's a bit like Bejewelled, but with Pokémon. The interesting twist is that it asks you to collect the pocket monsters and compile a Pokédex. That adds to the longevity.
6. Tetris DS
Tetris is Tetris. It's the king of puzzle games. This is the most modern and expanded version of all of them, and adding to the fun is the retro Nintendo twist that it has. Want to play Tetris with Donkey Kong? Go on then.
5. Mahjongg Quest Expeditions
You either love or hate Mahjongg, and if you like it, this is the best way to play.
4. Picross DS
More Picross, but in black and white. A little easier, but not much.
3. Brain Training
Simply because of the Sudoku part. Probably the best way to play Sudoku ever, unless you really like rubbing things out.
2. Word Jong
Not available in the UK, but easily imported. A cross between Mahjongg and Scrabble. String the letters into a word to destroy the tiles. Absolute class.
1. Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
An RPG based on Bejewelled. Competitive Bejewelled at that. Could there be any concept greater than this? Develop your character, challenge orcs to a game of gem-matching, solve a puzzle to learn a spell, and then bring down an evil minotaur god. I've been playing this for months, and I don't think I'll ever stop.
All of these games are inexpensive and are worth a look if you enjoyed Colour Cross or are looking for something slightly different. Whatever you choose - enjoy!
Summary: One hundred percent worthy of your time if you like to be challenged.
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