Sunday, 15 September 2019

Oekaki Puzzle (Neo Geo Pocket Colour)

Long time readers might remember that I've always said that Logic Pro (and its sequel, Logic Pro Adventure) are by far the best nonogram videogames around, with all others being mediocre by comparision. Well, it's time for some exciting news: I may have found the all-time worst example of a nonogram game in Oekaki Puzzle!

To start with, it has the same big flaw as so many others: non-existant stakes caused by a lack of any real lose condition, with the added caveat that you get zero feedback at all on whether you're marking the right or wrong squares. It's also missing some common quality of life features, like highlighting the row and column your cursor is currently on so you tell where you are at a glance, for example.

Then there's the puzzles themselves, which are completely joyless things to solve. I think there's three main reasons for this. One: a lot of the puzzles turn out to be things like letters or numbers or just simple shapes when you complete them. Two: a huge amount of the puzzles are symmetrical, so when you've solved half the puzzle, you just go and do the same thing reversed on the other half of the grid. There's a soul-crushingly long series of near-identical animal faces that are all particularly egregious offenders in this department. Three: a lot of puzzles also feature a lot of rows where the numbers have a lot of ones and twos. This is a hard one to explain, but it makes the puzzles really tedious to solve, and also removes the mild satisfaction of filling in a long line of squares with reckless abandon.

I've actually gone back to the original Logic Pro recently, attempting to finish it in a single credit like I did with Logic Pro Adventure when I reviewed it last year, and the differences between that game and Oekaki Puzzle really show how such a simple concept can be executed by two games with such a vast chasm of quality between the two. Don't bother playing this game.

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