Link-A-Pix Color is a puzzle game available for download on the 3DS eShop. Retailing for $7.99, this is a very reasonably priced game. At first glance, one might blow this off as a simple Picross clone. This is very inaccurate from what you actually get. This game sees you on a grid. Inside this grid are numbers of different colors. The number itself represents the number of connected blocks of this color. These connections are not always on the same row or column, either. The catch, though, is they can never be diagonal. They are always straight up, straight down, or side to side. The color of the number tells you the color of the line you are drawing. Colors can not cross over another colored line, so you must take that into consideration as you are drawing your lines.
The first issue comes from the way the game introduces you to the mechanics listed above. There is no tutorial. There is no “World Zero” where the game teaches you how to play. There is a help button in one of the first menus. Inside that menu there is a single picture of a half completed puzzle, and a very roughly translated paragraph attempting to tell you how to play.
It took me a couple puzzles before I really understood what I was doing. I quickly learned the order of operations of how to efficiently solve a puzzle. Start with the 2’s, and get all of them connected. That will give you a general idea of what your board is going to look like, and some of the areas you are trying to color in. Then, when you do your 3’s, you suddenly have far fewer routs for your 3’s to take. They will either be in a 1×3 straight line, or they will form a right angle in one of two possible directions. Like Picross, seeing this all on paper might sound confusing, but as you play the game, it is all quite easy to visualize.
There are 8 pages worth of puzzles, and each page has 15 puzzles, for a grand total of 120 puzzles. At first glance that seems like a lot, but on average it took me roughly 2-7 minutes to solve each puzzle. I try not to judge a game by the time spent playing (It took me about 4 hours to get a gold medal on each one), but I did feel the game was rather light on content. The other issue I had was that there was no difficulty curve. The puzzles at the very beginning of the game are no more difficult than the ones at the end.
I know this all sounds very negative, however, the game actually did grab me. Once I started playing, and figured out the mechanics of the game, I had a very difficult time putting it down. It was fun seeing what I was making (even if I did have to guess what it was, because only half the game got translated from what appears to be French) at the end of each puzzle. About halfway through the game I realized you could cheat the system. You could achieve a gold medal on a puzzle only if you completed it without using the game’s hint system. The hint system, which had no limit, would remove any incorrect connections and let you re route those colors. If you stopped on the screen where it tells you how many errors you have it would not penalize you. I realize that you could make a move you weren’t 100% sure of, check and see if there was a mistake, and immediately erase that line and redo it. Admittedly, I did use this tactic quite a bit.
All in all, I had a good time with this game. I do not regret the 4 hours of playtime, but I don’t see myself going back to play it a second time. For what you get, the $7.99 price tag is a little steep. I highly recommend getting this game, if you can find it for $3 or $4. It was nice to have a puzzle game that isn’t Picross, or Puzzle & Dragons. Final Score 3/5