Animal Color Cross Review

The animals came in piece by piece, hurrah

Animal Color Cross Review
9th July, 2010 By Ian Morris
Game Info // Animal Color Cross
Animal Color Cross Boxart
Publisher: Little Worlds Studio
Developer: Little Worlds Studio
Players: 1
Available On: DS
Genre: Puzzle

Whilst it's an incredibly easy concept to get the hang of when you start to pick up and play it, actually explaining how Animal Color Cross works in a review is surprisingly tricky - especially if you've never played a similar game, like Piccross, or the other Colour Cross games before. It's basically a paint-by-numbers for people making mosaics, only using squares of paint instead of tiny ceramic tiles.

Presented with a grid and a series of numbers that correspond to each column and row, it's up to you to, basically, colour the picture in, following the numbers you're given. So if you've got a five by five grid, and the top row has the numbers 2 and 2, you can fill the row in safely, by colouring the first two squares in, then leaving a gap, before finishing the row off by colouring the last one.

Animal Color Cross Screenshot

Kind of like this.

And while games like Piccross set you the task of chiselling away at a grid, taking chunks away until the picture's revealed, Animal Color Cross works slightly differently, as you've actually got to colour things in. Not only making the game a lot more colourful, this also adds a lot more strategy to the proceedings, as you've now got to juggle several different "layers" of the picture, as each colour effectively has its own grid.

You can switch between the colours you're using by touching the paint splodges at the side of the grid, and you'll find yourself doing so regularly - especially on the larger, more complicated grids, as switching between the colours regularly is pretty much the only way to complete the grid. As you slowly fill in the few squares you know are definitely going to be that colour, you'll gradually be filling up squares - and therefore eliminating possibilities from all the other colours. Slowly but surely, you end up building up a picture by working out where the squares can't go, and you find yourself really having to think (and check through each and every colour) before you make a move.

Animal Color Cross Screenshot

Thankfully, you can zoom the screen in, to make sure you're filling in the right tiles, and that you've read the right number.

Animal Color Cross is a game that really makes you think, and as there's so little guess work involved, completing a grid gives you a real sense of achievement. As you slowly unveil a picture of an animal, you'll also find yourself trying to guess what it is, in a Rolf Harris "can you guess what it is yet?" style - and usually, you'll still be just as wrong.

The only problem is, there are a few weird glitches, and odd design decisions that bring the overall package down. For example, rather than staying on top, the colour swathes, and paint icon actually go behind the grid - which means it's sometimes impossible to change colour without trying to slide to the edge of the grid - and as you can only do that by touching the touch screen, which tries to fill in squares, you can end up making a few more mistakes than you should.

Also, when you've got a long line of numbers (say 1,2,4,1,1,2), and you fill in the first two or three sections, on Piccross, it would grey out the numbers you've filled in, so you knew at a glance how many of the segments you'd put in place on that line. On Animal Color Cross, it doesn't grey the numbers out, which often leaves you filling in duplicate sections, and making more mistakes than you otherwise should.

For just 500 points though (less than £5), there's a lot to be going on with here. With 72 puzzles, and a theme that's sure to appeal to everyone, Animal Color Cross is still well worth the investment - it would just be nice if the few technical glitches had been ironed out first.

Format Reviewed: Nintendo DS

StarStarStarHalf starEmpty star
Great concept, good price, let down by some weird glitches.
  • +
    Real brain teaser
  • +
    Multiple colours adds an extra layer of difficulty
  • +
    "Just one more go" appeal
  • -
    When you zoom in, the colour selection and paint tool slides behind the grid.
  • -
    No time limit on the levels means you can make as many mistakes as you want, and leaves little in the way of challenge.
  • -
    Doesn't blank off tiles as you fill in a line, which causes you to make more mistakes.
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