Sketchcross review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: Spiky Fish Games
Developer: Spiky Fish Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Leaderboards

Here’s a simple test to determine whether you’ll like Sketchcross: do you like nonograms? Then you’ll probably like Sketchcross. Did the word “nonograms” send you to Wikipedia to find out what, exactly, they are? Then this probably isn’t the game for you.

I’ll freely admit I had no idea what they were until I started playing this game. I have to say, though, that now that I’ve had them in my life…well, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t missing out on all that much.

Sketchcross 1

A big part of the problem, of course, may just be how they’re presented in Sketchcross. Generally, the picture logic puzzles here come in two varieties: really easy or impossibly difficult, with virtually no middle ground to speak of. You’ll be cruising along, enjoying puzzles that aren’t too taxing, when all of a sudden you’ll get hit with one that’s exponentially harder than anything that’s come before it. It’s pretty jarring, to go from a puzzle that you can solve in under a minute to one that lists the average time as ten minutes, but that’s an experience that you’ll come across regularly if you decide to play Sketchcross.

That’s not the game’s only issue, though. It’s also got a surprisingly unintuitive interface. I say surprising because it looks like Sketchcross should be easy enough to figure out. The nonograms can be filled in with a touch of your finger, making it well-suited to the Vita. The problem is…well, everything else. Accidentally skip past the opening invitation to play the tutorial, for example, and you’ll be scratching your head at how to find that option again. Likewise, zoom in on one part of the puzzle — which you’ll need to do, since the moment the puzzles get harder you’ll have to zoom in if you want to avoid accidentally rubbing every square in sight — and you may find it oddly difficult to zoom back out.

Obviously, those are all fairly superficial flaws if you’re a seasoned nonogram pro. If you can do these picture logic puzzles in your sleep, then nothing here should be too far out of your comfort zone. For anyone else, however, I feel like the barrier of entry is just a little too high and the payoff a little too low to make Sketchcross worth the investment.

Grade: B-