By Adam Riley 28.01.2018

Review for CROSSNIQ on PC

The best puzzle titles are those that have a very simplistic core, able to draw in a wide range of gamers of any level, and then include sufficient depth to hook more veteran players. The numerous variations of Tetris from over the years clearly succeeded in that regard, as did Nintendo's own Puzzle League, Mitchell Corp's actionloop, and SEGA's Puyo Puyo, to name just a few. Max Krieger just may have the next level of addiction now with CROSSNIQ. With a Kickstarter campaign about to start for its successor, CROSSNIQ+, Cubed3 takes a look at the core concept currently available for free.

The heart of CROSSNIQ lies in sliding tiles around a board in order to form crosses, horizontally and vertically. This can be done via a finger on a touch screen laptop, or using a gamepad or mouse on other PCs. The crosses must be formed by moving coloured squares up and down columns, and left and right in rows to match up a line of the same hue both up the screen and across it, all before the timer runs out. Achieve that goal - moving the entire row, rather than individual tiles like in Puzzle League - and the timer resets, bringing with it a new collection of tiles to arrange, with the number of a particular colour that was available in abundance before sometimes being depleted considerably next time, to spice things up and not let players become too reliant on shuffling the same colours around.

Sub-selectors allow for tiles to be double-clicked, and when two are selected side-by-side, it means their respective entire rows/columns can be moved together, saving a lot of time when trying to fly around the board, making speedy colour groupings. Moves like this are best practiced in the Tutorial offered up, with advice coming from Monitan, a female bot with a computer screen for a head. She will provide tips and tricks for getting the highest score in the quickest time, and teach about speed bonuses (Good, Great, Master) that are dependent on how swiftly crosses are made, as well as show how to clear multiple crosses at one time.

Screenshot for CROSSNIQ on PC

As each board is cleared, the difficulty levels rise, or for those that want added challenge right from the off, the variables can be initially adjusted so that the board itself can be changed from a simple 6x6 grid size right up to the insanely tricky 16x16, as well as tweaking the level of overall difficulty across nine different settings of complexity. The harder the difficulty, the more obstacles get thrown into the mix, with certain squares having locks on to prevent the row they reside on being slid across too far, stopping at the edge of the screen if attempting to move the locked block off the end and back onto the other side of the board. Special starred squares give bonus points when cleared, encouraging those in control to manoeuvre them into the fray, whilst there will sometimes be a large X on a tile, which prevents an entire row being moved at all.

It all proves to be very addictive, and it will be intriguing to see what further elements will be added when CROSSNIQ eventually becomes CROSSNIQ+. Changing the colours of the tiles from the options screen is a great idea already present (useful for those that have trouble with certain shades), but perhaps that can be expanded further, along with user-defined tile shapes. Different board types with obstructions on might be something intriguing, a two-player mode seems a given, and expanded challenge modes for players to compete in to rise up the online leaderboard ranks would also be great. One thing that is hoped will get a refresh is the music. Sadly, whilst some may like the style, a few of the drum 'n' bass tunes featured in CROSSNIQ do not gel with the gameplay, so were turned off after a short while during this play-test.

Screenshot for CROSSNIQ on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Given how addictive the free base game is, hopes are high for CROSSNIQ+. The best puzzle titles are those that keep things simple, removing overly complicated instructions and getting straight into the action, whilst carefully building up complexity at an appropriate pace. CROSSNIQ gets the balance just right, easing gamers in, and then gradually introducing extra elements to bring great levels of depth to proceedings. Excellent in its current form, it has the potential to be a memorable great in its expanded version.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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