Fill-a-Pix: Phil’s Epic Adventure review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS Vita

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: 3DS, PS4, PS Vita
Publisher: Lightwood Games
Developer: Lightwood Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

As unbelievable as this may sound, I was actually really excited for Fill-a-Pix: Phil’s Epic Adventure. After all, it was made by Lightwood Games, who were behind one of of favourite games of the year-to-date, Pic-A-Pix Color — which I?ve not only Platinumed twice (hurray for separate PS4 and Vita trophy lists), I?m also closing in on 100%-ing it on the Switch too. I figured that if Fill-A-Pix was anywhere close to being as good as Pic-A-Pix, I?d be in puzzle heaven.

Unfortunately, it?s simply not. Fill-a-Pix may also be a picross game, but that?s about all it has it common with Pic-A-Pix. It manages the odd trick of being both much, much easier than Pic-a-Pix, while also being much, much more tedious.

There are two reasons for this. The first is just how the puzzles are designed. You?re still solving puzzles that reveal pictures, but instead of figuring out how many spaces are filled in for each row and column, instead you?re going around a massive board and filling in squares based on how many squares around them need to be filled in. It?s a small change, but it makes for a much more drawn-out, laborious experience.

The other problem is the size of the puzzles: they?re massive, to the point that you can only ever see small parts of the whole at any given time. You?re basically just filling in squares with no sense of how they all come together, which only adds to the feeling of manual labour, and puzzles usually take at least 15 minutes to complete.

It doesn?t help much that the shortcuts — theoretically there to make the game more manageable — do nothing to alleviate these feelings of boredom. You can select blocks of nine squares, rather than going one at a time, and you can press the shoulder buttons to tell you where to find the nearest blocks you can fill in…but when you combine those two features, you reduce the game to nothing more than following directions.

To be sure, that could be said about any game, when you really think about it. But the problem is that you don?t have to think about it here, because it?s so obvious. Fill-a-Pix may come with some decent pedigree, but decent pedigree means nothing when the end result is so boring.

Lightwood Games provided us with a Fill-a-Pix: Phil’s Epic Adventure Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C+