Indie Quickie: Pixel Puzzles 2: Anime

It takes a lot longer to fully review a game than it does to get a good sense of what a game is. Even with a full-time staff of writers it would be impossible to fully review the thousands of games that are released every year. Indie Quickie is our way to offer snap impressions of the countless indie titles small teams and one-man game studios are releasing literally every single day, and to help guide players to worthwhile games they may not have heard about before.

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What is it? Another new set of jigsaw puzzles in the Pixel Puzzles series, this time with a kawaii anime theme.

Who made it and where can you get it? Decaying Logic and KISS ltd are selling it for Windows PC on Steam for $9.99.

How much did we play? I spent a few hours piecing together 15 of the 25 puzzles.

Any technical concerns, hardware requirements or other details you should know about? This game has an incredibly annoying Pixel Pixie–I’m talking more annoying than Navi from the Zelda games–who hovers around on the right side of the screen, repeatedly spouting out one-liners like “You so got this.” and “You are such a puzzle master!” after pretty much every successfully placed piece. During play, you can hit the Delete key to make her disappear, but in doing so the power-up system also becomes deactivated. It seems like a simple mute button option to put a gag on just the pixie would have been a better solution, so you could not listen to her quips and still be able to build the power-up meter. Then again, I generally prefer to mute all audio and listen to my own music in the background while solving jigsaws in these Pixel Puzzles games anyways. That’s at least a workaround option that allows you to earn power-ups and listen to something more pleasing to the ears.

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Why should you play it?

    • Pixel Puzzles 2.1: This new Anime set continues to make incremental improvements with the Pixel Puzzles 2 engine. Building upon the key features of the previous Birds-themed title–which introduced a pull-out sorting tray area, mid-puzzle progress auto-saves, piece rotation for more authentic and challenging jigsaw puzzle solving, and generally more reliable piece selection–Decaying Logic has made other, more subtle tweaks this time around. A couple different resolution options are available for playing the game in windowed view. The somewhat distracting puzzle board patterns and floating UI icons from Birds have been replaced by plain color backgrounds and a smaller, less intrusive in-game menu located in the screen’s upper-right corner (although I still don’t get why there isn’t an option to remove all HUD elements since there are hotkeys for everything). Overall, this game does a better job of tightening up a lot of the finer details and feels even more polished than its predecessors.

    • Only Jigsaws: It’s also nice that, for a change, there isn’t some mini-game element to earning power-ups. Instead of having to blast zombies or net crabs, simply placing pieces steadily adds Pixel Dust to a vial that fills up on the left side of the play area. Depending on how full the meter gets, you can choose to view a ghost image of the completed picture for a short time, have the game automatically rotate the currently selected piece to its correct orientation, or reveal the exact location for a single puzzle piece. I personally didn’t mind the interactive elements in the other games and actually appreciated that they brought something different to the genre, but I certainly understand why some players did. Focusing in solely on the jigsaw mechanics as this game does is probably the safest way to please everyone. Yes, the Pixel Pixie is there to nag you in place of mini-games, but at least she is more easily ignored than active gameplay elements drawing your attention away from sorting through puzzle pieces. And for a little while I actually did find the pixie endearing in that “so annoying she’s kind of cute” way. Then she quickly ran out of different things to say and became completely obnoxious.

Parting Thoughts: Purely as a jigsaw puzzler, this is Decaying Logic’s best playing Pixel Puzzles game yet. The anime theme may not be as broadly appealing, but nevertheless the artwork is beautiful, colorful, and varied in tone and style, from cute to serious, sci-fi to gothic. And thankfully none of the images cross into awkward anime pr0n territory. After three previous games there aren’t any major advancements to talk about here, but if you’re a jigsaw geek like me Pixel Puzzles 2: Anime is sure to please. Just remember to have some Pixel Pixie repellent at the ready, just in case.

Disclosure: A free Steam key for Pixel Puzzles 2: Anime was provided to VGBlogger.com by the game’s publisher.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!