By – Jordan Kamm

Paint it Back PC Review 1

Paint it Back is a Picross puzzle game where you must repaint lost art. Picross puzzles test your logic, similar to a Sudoku, but with the added element of testing your spacial awareness as you complete a picture. The puzzle is a grid with numbers around the top and left edges. you place dots that correspond to the numbers. Each number represents how many dots there will be in a row. Two numbers mean there are two separate lines made up of those numbers. Placing all the correct dots will reveal a picture. Picross is one of my favorite little puzzles, and I love to complete them when I have a spare minute. Paint it Back, however, leaves me sorely wanting to play a quality Picross game.

There are only a couple hundred different puzzles. As you progress there really isn’t any sense the puzzles getting harder. Difficulty is simulated by having three ways to work on a puzzle. Normal Breaks the puzzle down into 10×10 squares, Pro usually breaks them down anywhere from 12×12-20×20, and Master gives you the entire puzzle. Completing each of these levels gives you metals that unlock more categories of pictures. The puzzles you unlock in the later categories aren’t that much harder than earlier ones.

In a standard Picross puzzle, there are only two colors used black for the lines, and the white background makes up the negative space. You can use these areas to make guesses about the picture as a whole. With Paint it Back, that’s not the case. The grid you are drawing in is black and white, but the final picture is in full color. This means that a single line of black in the grid corresponds to multiple different details in the drawing. So rather than feeling like you are working towards completing a picture, the only thing happening is that you’re placing lines in a grid. It more or less eliminates the part of the fun of a Picross puzzle.

Paint it Back PC Review 1

The tools you have to work with are also a little lacking. As with standard Picross, you are given an “X” tool to place into spaces you know aren’t filled with anything. However, there is no eraser tool. To fix mistakes you must trace over the spots with whatever tool you used to place the mark. This can get quickly tedious since you can’t draw through an area where there there are both spots and X’s. There is also nothing to tell you how many spaces you just drew through in a row. If I wanted to draw a line of 15, I would have to count out those 15 spots, rather than having a little indicator telling me I just drew 15. Both of these tools are included in other Picross games I’ve played, and are definitely lacking from this one. Paint it Back is an alright game for anyone who want’s to ease themselves into the genre. The puzzles aren’t too difficult and the game does a decent job of showing you how to think when starting. However, there isn’t much here for those who’ve already done a lot of these puzzles.

There is a challenge mode, which I’ve never seen done before in a Picross game. You aren’t given a title for the piece, or a view of the picture as it is without the grid. All this serves to do is make the whole thing more like placing lines on a grid, and even less like drawing a picture. There are optional challenges you can complete within these puzzles. For instance, you can try and complete them within a certain time-frame, don’t use any X’s, or use as little extra paint that’s not part of the correct painting as possible. These do offer some new ways to complete a puzzle, and I found them to be some of the more interesting parts of the game.

The sound design is also uninspired. The background music is repetitive and boring. The splat sound made every time you place a dot quickly became irritating. The best thing I found was to turn it all off, and put on a podcast instead. The options menu is fairly small, there is a resolution adjustment, windowed mode, and a v-sync toggle. Other than that, there are a couple options to change different things within the puzzles, One of them being a way to switch how the grid is laid out. It’s not like this game needed advanced graphics settings, it ran at a constant 60fps regardless.  On the plus side, I never encountered any bugs or crashes. Honestly, this isn’t the type of game I would really want to play on my computer at home. Paint it Back can be used with a mouse, a keyboard, or a gamepad. However, the best way to play it is entirely mouse driven.

Paint it Back PC Review 1

Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?

For $7.99, this game does a lot less than the myriad of free Picross games you can find elsewhere. There are many free Picross games that offer countless of puzzles that range in size and difficulty. If you are new to Picross games, or have been playing them for years, Paint it Back has nothing interesting to offer.

Paint it Back Technical Summary:

Paint it Back PC Review 1

  • Time Played – 14 Hours
  • Widescreen Support – Yes
  • Resolution Played – 1920×1080
  • Windowed Mode – Yes
  • Bugs/Crashes Encountered – none
  • Control Scheme – Keyboard, Mouse, Gamepad
  • DRM – Steam
  • System Specs – 3.5 Ghz AMD FX 6300, GeForce GTX 750 Ti, 8GB RAM
  • Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
  • Availability – Steam
  • Demo – Yes
  • Saved Game Location – Steam\SteamApps\common\Paint it Back\pib_Data

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