Review: One Line Coloring

I think it’s safe to assume that most people are familiar with connect the dots. It’s a classic pen and paper game in which a scattered array of numbered dots must be connected by drawing a line from one dot to the next in the correct sequence in order to create a work of line art. Connect the dots is primarily a game for helping kids learn how to count, with the added artistic reward of having a picture to color at the end.

With One Line Coloring, MythicOwl has taken this staple of children’s activity books, worksheets, and the backs of cereal boxes and adapted it into a delightful little puzzle game anyone, kids and adults alike, can connect with and enjoy.

Each puzzle consists of a set dots that need to be connected by a line to complete the outlined shape underneath. What differentiates One Line Coloring from traditional connect the dots and makes it a true logic puzzle experience is the fact that there are no numbers to guide the way. The game does give you the shaded outline of the underlying shape along with highlighted path choices to follow when connecting the dots, but it’s entirely up to you to deduce a correct pathway that will connect the dots within each puzzle, clicking from dot to dot to form a continuous line that is not allowed to double over previously drawn paths. If your line dead ends without another viable path to follow, the dot turns red and you have to start over.

One Line Coloring is a little more complex than your average game of connect the dots. Some puzzles allow you to start from the dot of your choosing, while others provide a fixed dot that you must begin from. Further challenge is provided in the form of arrow markers along certain paths that must be followed in the indicated direction. If you approach an arrowed line from the wrong direction, you’ll hit a dead end.

The game’s 110 puzzles are grouped into six themed categories, including a garden, beach, forest, outer space, under the sea, and campout, and each theme is accompanied by a diorama scene that populates with animals, plants, and other items as you solve puzzles. Once you complete a puzzle, the image pops–appropriately enough with a poof of celebratory confetti–from a flat 2D view into a fully three-dimensional object that you can manually rotate and look at on its own before seeing where it fits into the animated diorama. The game has a charming low-poly aesthetic complemented by a lovely pastel color palette. There’s almost an origami quality to the art design and the way the objects flip from 2D to 3D. Solving the puzzles is a lot of fun, and building out the dioramas along the way is a nice reward for the effort.

The game could’ve used a more balanced difficulty curve and sense of progression. You do have to complete puzzles to unlock new ones, but within each themed puzzle grouping there’s no set order or flow to the levels. You can play them in any order and they’re all of random difficulty. The difficulty from one category to the next doesn’t seem to increase as you advance either. Some puzzles are cake and some will certainly have you stumped for a bit, but there isn’t a gradual incline from easy to hard. Overall, the level of difficulty is pretty mild, intended to offer more of a relaxed, carefree type of challenge rather than something too demanding and mentally taxing. I appreciate that a lot.

The only real issue I have with the game, from a PC player’s perspective, is the way that the menu interface was clearly designed first and foremost around a console controller (I played on PC but the game is also available on Nintendo Switch). Even without a gamepad connected, the menu navigation icons are represented by controller button icons. While the game itself plays great with a mouse (clicking from dot to dot with a mouse feels more natural than using a gamepad for me), there’s no way to smoothly navigate the menus without a controller. The menus do not recognize mouse cursor scrolling or keyboard input so instead of being able to hover over levels or tap arrow keys to highlight them, as you can with a gamepad by simply tapping the left analog stick to make selections, you have to click on them one by one, which automatically takes you into that level.

So, for example, after puzzles have been completed and you want to flip through to check completion times and view objects and dioramas, you first have to click and enter a level and then quit back out to the menu for it to be highlighted in the main menu rather than simply being able to hover over it with the mouse cursor. That’s an annoying extra step that shouldn’t be there. Thankfully this seems like something that should be easily remedied with an update, so hopefully MythicOwl can do that soon.

One Line Coloring is one of those games that is just so easy to fall in love with. It’s super simple for players of any skill level to hop into and have fun, while the vibrant colors and adorable art design give the game a lighthearted, playful spirit that is so inviting. The real world is already full of things to stress about on a daily basis so it’s always nice to have an experience that may require you to flex some brain muscle but isn’t overbearingly difficult. Obviously runtime will vary for everyone, but on average I’d say you can expect to get around three hours of puzzling goodness out of the game. Connect your way over to Steam or the Nintendo Switch shop to check it out.

BuyIt

Game Info:
Platform: Reviewed on PC, also available on Nintendo Switch
Publisher: MythicOwl
Developer: MythicOwl
Release Date: 8/21/2020
Genre: Puzzle
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Players: 1

Source: A Steam key was provided to VGBlogger.com for review consideration by MythicOwl.

Buy From: Steam and Nintendo Game Store for $6.99.

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!