Indie Quickie: Pixel Puzzles 2: Space

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What is it and who made it? The fifth installment in the Pixel Puzzles series of video game jigsaw puzzles by Decaying Logic and Kiss Ltd.

What platforms is it on and how much does it cost? Get it starting today on Steam for $9.99 (plus a 25% launch week discount).

How much did we play? I’ve completed 9 of the 25 puzzles in a little over two hours of play time. Mostly the smaller 60 and 112 piece ones so far, but I have started to sort pieces in a couple of the larger puzzles, too.

Any technical concerns, hardware requirements, or other details you should know about? Nope. No missing pieces in this jigsaw box.

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Why should you play it?

    • Jigsaw Puzzles…in Space: More than any of the other Pixel Puzzle themes so far, I think I enjoy this one the most. The mystery and majesty of outer space just lends itself so beautifully to jigsaw puzzles. There’s so much visual diversity to the different planetary scenes and starry space vistas, a good variety of distinct colors and line patterns that aren’t overly confusing, plus some more exciting action shots of rockets blasting off, moon landings, and astronaut space walks. The atmosphere is also very relaxing, creating the perfect state of Zen calm so you’re able to really focus in.

    • Pick a Puzzle, Any Puzzle: One minor annoyance with the previous Pixel Puzzle games that I honestly didn’t even notice I found annoying until now is the way puzzle selection is blocked behind a progression tree or web, forcing you to complete certain puzzles to be able to unlock more. Now that I look back on it, yeah, that’s kind of an unnecessary restriction for this type of game. These are jigsaw puzzles–why not just let me flip the game on and choose the puzzles that I want to assemble? Now that’s not an issue. In Pixel Puzzles 2: Space all 25 puzzles are unlocked from the start, so you can ease into things by doing all of the smaller puzzles first and work your way up, or you can dive right in on the largest 350-piece puzzle. Personally, I’ve enjoyed being able to whiz through the small puzzles while spending a few minutes here and there in between sorting pieces and getting the borders in place on the larger, more time-consuming puzzles.

    • One Small Step: Pixel Puzzles, as a series, continues to incrementally refine its interface and mechanics in other subtle ways as well. For example, the play area now features a permanent sorting tray along the bottom edge of the screen (where the spaceship launch platform is), while the puzzle board is aligned flush to the top of the screen, leaving the three remaining sides as the puzzle piece selection pool. The play space just feels less cluttered and, well, spacier than the previous installments. I also like how the themed mini-game / power-up element is less intrusive than some of the others are. Ship payloads float around in the selection pool intermingled with the puzzle pieces and can be collected and placed into three different satellite launch pods at the bottom of the screen, each activating a unique power-up to orient the current piece in its correct rotation angle, temporarily reveal a ghost image of the completed puzzle image, or highlight the exact placement for a piece. There’s no obsessive clicking or waiting for meters to fill; you just drag a payload to the power you want to use and tap the appropriate hotkey to activate. Or you can ignore them entirely. If you don’t need to use any of these helper powers, the payload pieces can be dragged to the launch pad at the bottom-left corner of the screen to assemble a rocket ship, which takes flight once all components have been placed. Doing so triggers a blast off animation that is for visual flair but has no apparent impact on gameplay, other than to determine whether or not you get the achievement for launching the rocket to rescue the cute little astronaut dude who can be seen bouncing around the screen, lost in jigsaw puzzle space. I suppose some folks might find his constant movement distracting, but I honestly didn’t even notice him most of the time. He’s certainly nowhere near as pestering as the fairy in Pixel Puzzles 2: Anime.

Parting Thoughts: Decaying Logic’s jigsaw puzzlers just keep getting better and better–little by little–by the game. Pixel Puzzles 2: Space maintains the advancements of its predecessors–like automatic progress saves for all puzzles and manual right-click piece rotation–while continuing to refine the presentation in subtle but effective ways. For us jigsaw puzzle traditionalists, the next step might be to rein in some of the crazy puzzle piece cutouts or at the very least offer an option to play puzzles with regular shapes. Some of Pixel Puzzles 2: Space‘s cutout shapes are pretty out there.

What is Indie Quickie? 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.

Disclosure: A Steam review key for Pixel Puzzles 2: Space was provided to VGBlogger.com by the 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!