The sad state of iPhone picross
In the days when I used to live with my Palm Tungsten T3, I used to play a game called PictureLogic, an awesome implementation of picross. I got used to the features, so when I recently tried to find a good version for my iPhone, I was horrified to find that they all suck. Badly.
First, the puzzles are horribly easy. Even the 20×20 ones, the “tough” ones, are filled with row after row of large numbers of marked blocks. This is a challenge? But I shouldn't speak, since if you got a difficult puzzle, there are no tools to handle it.
No tools at all.
In PictureLogic you had
- indicators that you could deduce block positions in a given row/column
- indicators of not just entire rows/columns being solved, but individual runs within the rows/columns being solved
- four pen colors
- a puzzle solver
If you haven't done any serious puzzle solving, you won't get the whole pen color thing. What happens when you hit the wall, and you don't have anything that you can deduce? You switch pen colors, make an assumption, run until you hit a conflict and then revert having deduced that your original assumption was wrong. That's a required feature for solving any seriously-difficult puzzle. Even the pathetically-easy Shady Puzzles has multiple pens. Pixelogic? None.
Pixelogic also boasts that you can create your own puzzles. Yet it has no solver. Why does that matter? That means that it can't verify that your puzzle has a unique solution. The fact that a puzzle has a unique solution is an important tool useful in solving it. Without verification, it's a joke.
I'm still looking for a good app. In the meantime, I guess I remain spoiled by the old-school Palm. Here are two puzzles I composed in PictureLogic. Yes, they're both solvable. Yes, they're difficult. Good luck in doing anything like them in any iPhone picross app out there today.