There’s nothing finer than when a great game from years past gets an update out of the blue. That’s the case today with the fantastic Picross game Paint it Back (Free), which originally launched way back in October of 2013 and hasn’t seen an actual content update in nearly two years to the day. Developer Casual Labs rewrote the entire game in Unity and released it on Steam in October of last year, and this update is essentially that improved rewritten version, minus the Workshop level editor portion. That means that you can now play in Master difficulty in addition to Normal and Pro. As the puzzles in Paint it Back get larger, Normal would break them up into smaller 10×10 chunks, or 15×15 chunks in Pro. Master means that you’ll be solving the whole enchilada all at once, none of that chunk business. Despite the cute graphics and overall charm of the game, the puzzles get absolutely brutal in the later portions so Master should be a nice incentive for the hardcore Picross solvers among us.
Additional new features include Undo and Redo buttons, the ability to play in either landscape or portrait, MFi controller support, a Marks Mode that lets you make temporary marks on the board, a new achievement, and all sorts of other little nips and tucks that ensure the game runs solid. One of the awesome things about Paint it Back back in the day was that it was free to download with the first 30 levels available, and you could either choose to unlock each additional collection of levels for a dollar apiece or save a buck by unlocking them all at once for $2.99. No in-game currencies, power-ups, timers, or any other form of IAP nonsense, just the good old fashioned demo+unlock model. It works basically the same now, but instead of 30 free levels you get the first 75 levels for free. Finally, there’s actually a brand new batch of levels in this update called 2016 US Election. It’s time to Make Picross Great Again!
Picross games seem like they’d be a natural fit for mobile devices, but for whatever reason, really good ones are few and far between. Paint it Back is arguably the best Picross game on mobile, and our own Shaun Musgrave’s original review from 2013 backs up that statement. I’m happy to see new life breathed into this old friend, and I hope that there’s a chance for even more new levels or even the Workshop level editor from the desktop version to one day make its way to Paint it Back on iOS. If you’re a fan of puzzle games of any form, you absolutely have to download Paint it Back for free and give it a shot, and don’t forget to chime in with your thoughts in the game’s forum thread.