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Piczle Cross Adventure Interview

Piczle Cross Adventure from Score Studios is now available for Nintendo Switch! We chat with the designer of the game to get some insights about this fourth installment of the popular Piczle series on Nintendo Switch.

Hi, James, please introduce yourself for the readers.

I'm James Kay, I'm the designer of the Piczle series including the latest installment Piczle Cross Adventure.

Looks like the protagionist Score-Chan is up to no good again. Can't that girl ever keep out of trouble?

UGH, I know, right? Though this time it isn't her, uhm, bellicose personality that is causing trouble, so she's off the hook for this one.

The story of Piczle Cross Adventures continues from the previous games Piczle Lines DX and Piczle Colors. It must be fun to come up with new ways for Score-chan to ruin the world, again.

Yeah, I always have a lot of fun thinking up scenarios and how Score-chan would react to them. And this time there is a whole lot more characterisation and story for her to "express herself", so to speak.

What was the inspiration behind Piczle Cross Adventures?

Oh where to start? When I founded Score Studios over a decade ago I really wanted to create a nonogram game. But then the iPhone was released and the touch-screen gave me inspiration to do Piczle Lines instead. But now I had a chance to revisit that original idea and make my nonogram dream come true! The idea to make it into a 2D RPG-like adventure came from my desire to, well, create a 2D RPG-like adventure as well. Luckily the two genres kind of worked well mashed together.

Is there anything players should look out for in the game?

So much! I didn't just enjoy making all the nonograms. I added some little secrets and eater eggs, as well as a fishing mini-game and some other in-world puzzles. I wonder if players will get all the Easter eggs I put in the game… On top of that I stuffed a tone of customisation into this game. You can play these puzzles in so many different ways; you can choose or create your own visual theme, you can get hints or not, see the timer or not, have mistakes corrected as you play, etc. It was very important for me that players be able to tweak the puzzle gameplay to their liking.

Congratulations on receiving a Silver Award in Famitsu magazine!

Thanks!! I can't tell you how happy and proud that made me. I put so much time and effort into creating a game that I myself would enjoy so it's amazing to hear others like it a lot as well, especially an august and respected magazine like Famitsu!

You recently revealed the Piczle Colors had a secret LCD game inside called Piczle Cross. Can users expect something similar in Piczle Cross

Man, that secret LCD game took forever to be found so I had to start dropping hints. There are some extra unlockable secrets in Piczle Cross Adventure as well but I've made them a bit more obvious. If you clear the game 100% it will tell you so and there won't be any hidden secrets beyond that. I did have an idea to add a few more mini-games but I'm sadly not made of time.

It's an incredible achievement to make the game by yourself, including all graphics, programming and puzzles. A true Indie Game. How long did it take you?

Well, no man is an island! I didn't do the music myself (I don't have the skill) and I had to rely on some (excellent) localisers, and as well as QA and you, the publisher, with support, so I don't really see it as a 1 man effort. That said, yeah, it took me a while. I made the first playable test I think in December 2018, but since I started work on it for real I'd say it took about a year and a month or two to make.

Are there any ideas that didn't make it into the final game?

Plenty! Ideas are so easy to have but so hard to implement. I wanted to maybe add a little arcade game in Rocket World, a music player, more areas, more characters. In the end though I had the tough decision to make to actually release the game and keep some of the ideas for the next Piczle instead. Game development is always a balance between what you want to create and what you are able to create, within a decent time frame and budget.

As the designer of the game you must be pretty good at playing it. What's your best time and do you think it could be beaten?

You'd think so huh. But it takes me a good 15 hours to finish the game, and on the first day of release in Japan a player cleared it in 10. It's pretty humbling to know I'm not even the best at my own game… That said… have YOU managed to finish the game yet? And if so, how long did it take you?

errr, sorry we're a bit pushed for time so we'd better push on… I know you're an avid puzzle fan, especially into logic puzzles. Have you ever come across a logic puzzle that you couldn't solve?

The joy of logic-puzzles is that you don't have to be particularly smart to clear them, which is probably why I like them so much. They are all very logical and you never have to guess or make huge leaps. So generally logic puzzles are all solvable. That said, i have given up on some larger nonograms in magazines because, wow, those can really eat up your time!

Where does the Piczle series go from here?

Onward and upward! I have plenty of ideas on the next Piczle, but I also want to build on what is currently already there. If Piczle Cross Adventure gets enough fans there are possibilities of adding extra content, of course, but I am also keen to explore some new ideas and other puzzle types. I also need to figure out what to do with the current crop of characters because I don't think I want to expand the roster too much from the current set of heroes and "villains".