Colour Cross is essentially a variation on the Japanese puzzle game, Hanjie. And if you're sat there thinking, "What on earth is Hanjie?!", you wouldn't be the first. Hanjie is one of my favourite types of logic puzzle, and whenever I am sat doing a paper version of the game, I am always met by a bewildered look. I have even been asked by a curious stranger on a train what it was I was doing. However, this puzzle seems more confusing than it actually is, and when you grasp the concept of it, it's actually quite straightforward. If you're a fan of Sudoku, or other logic puzzles, read on! This could be one for you...
So, I'm confused...
Instructions on how to play are given when you create a save file. Basically, you are given a grid with numbers that run horizontally and vertically along the grid sides. The aim of traditional Hanjie is to shade the grid by following the numbers along the sides in order to reveal a picture. So, for example, if you were given a 10x10 grid, the first horizontal line might read: 4 2 2. A gap between numbers denotes at least one square to be left unshaded. You would therefore know that you would need to shade the first four squares, leave a gap, shade the next two, leave a gap, and then shade the last two squares.
However, this game is not traditional Hanjie. At least two colours will be used on every grid, and the amount of colours increase as the difficulty level increases. So, using our previous example, if the 10x10 grid needed to be shaded with red and yellow, we might say that the 4 2 2 example denoted where the red went. The user would then be able to switch to the second colour, yellow, by pressing a paint tube icon on the right hand side of the screen. Once the yellow is chosen, the red squares you shaded on the grid would 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 individual squares would need to be shaded in yellow. As you have already filled in 4 2 2 in red, you should be left with only two empty squares anyway. It should therefore be obvious that the yellow would be filled into the two empty squares on that line.
The same is done along the vertical lines as well. As you progress in filling out the grid, completing the puzzle becomes easier, and it will eventually reveal a picture of some sort.
I hope that this is a fairly clear explanation of how to play. However, Hanjie is essentially a visual puzzle, and to fully grasp the concept, picking up a puzzle and playing it for yourself would be far more beneficial than trying to imagine it from the description I gave. I think Colour Cross's tutorial is excellent, as it gives a visual demonstration, as well as a written explanation of how to play, and would allow anyone to pick up the rules quickly.
This game includes 10 level packs, each including 15 puzzles. Each level pack is themed (e.g. Fashion, Medieval, Horror) and the pictures revealed at the end of each puzzle are related to the theme. Most levels and level packs are initially locked, and only become unlocked as puzzles are completed. I find that the game is structured oddly as, within each level pack, the levels get harder as they go along. To me, it would have made more sense to have grouped all easy puzzles together, with each level pack gradually getting harder. I think this would have been especially beneficial to brand new players, as they would have an opportunity to build their confidence by completing all the easy puzzles first before trying something a little more difficult.
Gameplay is completely controlled by the stylus, and squares in a grid are shaded by pressing the stylus to the square of choice. The only buttons that you are able to use are the L and R buttons for zooming in and out, and the start button to choose to end a game. The game is very simple to play, which is probably just as well, as getting your head around the rules of the puzzle may seem confusing enough at first. I do, however, feel that giving the player the option to shade the puzzle with the buttons would have been beneficial to the game, as I find that a button mode of entry would have been easier for me. I say this because as the grids get larger with increased difficulty, the squares that need to be shaded become smaller on the screen to accommodate for the size of the grid, making it easier to accidentally hit a wrong, neighbouring square and incur a time penalty.
On the subject of time penalties, puzzles are timed. However, this seems to serve no other purpose than to trial how quickly you are able to complete a puzzle. You might, in the future, choose to try and beat your previous time. Otherwise, the timing of a puzzle is not something that might concern the player.
Quite simply, this game is never going to be a best seller. However, that is not to say that it is a bad game. For those who love logical puzzles, this is the kind of thing that would be right up your street. However, I do have some issues with the game.
Firstly, the music is annoying, and is totally unnecessary to the game. I generally have it switched off, as I find that the excitable, increased tempo of celebration music once a puzzle has been completed, only grates on me and does nothing to add to the overall experience of the game.
Another bugbear of mine is the background when you're trying to complete a grid. For one thing, the developers thought that it would be a good idea to make the background vibrant by making items relevant to the theme float around in the background in a rather distracting manner. However, more annoying is that sometimes the colour of the screen background often blends in to the colour you're using on the grid. This makes it almost impossible to see which squares have been shaded in, and often leads to making a mistake. The background would have benefited infinitely from being a neutral colour, rather than a dynamic, colour changing mess.
Obviously, the graphics are not amazing. However, I don't think this is a hindrance to the game. The important thing for this game was that there were an abundance of puzzles and that they offered plenty of challenge for the user. Although this is true, I found Picross (the traditional version of Hanjie for the DS) to be more challenging, and generally better in terms of its structure and gameplay. By comparison to Picross's clear structure and excellent gameplay, Colour Cross just comes across as messy and trying too hard to make the game look visually interesting.
This game can be bought for under £20 new, and from as little as £11 second hand from Amazon. If you're thinking of buying it, it might also be worth keeping a look out to see if you can buy it as a previously owned game from somewhere like GameStation as it might be cheaper again that way.
This is a fairly good game for fans of logic puzzles, and with 150 levels, will certainly offer a substantial number of challenges. However, if you really enjoy Hanjie, I would probably recommend Picross over Colour Cross, as it is a much better game on the whole. That said, if you can buy this cheaply, it wouldn't be the worst investment you've ever made. Definitely not one for those who have little patience with puzzles!
Colour cross once again proves what a superb platform the DS is with quality titles coming out all the time.
This is a great game with a very cool little idea of filling in coloured squares with different colours to make a picture/symbol,you are given all the information you need ie the amount of coloured squares and what colours are required and also what combination they are required in on each line.
Sounds really rubbish when you write it down,but honestly this is a gem of a game,which i have only have had for a few days and have picked up and played on and off,due to the fact that my 8yr old daughter seems to have it most of the time and is really immersed in it.
Clever software again means that unlike some games you are penalised for errors,colour cross allows you to make errors and learn from them,ie less errors more games unlocked etc, it seems this game has a lot of themes to unlock and we have only managed five of them so far!!! so am hoping is gonna last a while!!
enjoy this simple game wit a twist.
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 £20. 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 £19.99 (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!
Colour Cross is a challenging puzzle game where the goal is to uncover the hidden picture by applying the right colour to the appropriate square. Utilising the familiar 'paint by numbers' picture logic puzzle mechanic, completing a grid will reveal a portion of a larger hidden image as well as unlocking increasingly difficult challenges. With over 150 individual grids to unlock, Colour Cross provides hours of brain-teasing gameplay that is colourful in more ways than one.