When Sudoku and crosswords collide, the result is Sketchcross.
The logic puzzle game for the PlayStation Vita from Tempe-based Spiky Fish Games, led by Kendal Cormany. He’s hoping to fill a void in the Vita market for a nonogram-based puzzle game with multiple game modes and a wide array of puzzles.
He said he was encouraged to make the game in part due to the success of a similar title, Picross 3D, for the Nintendo 3DS. That game sold more than 140,000 units in 2010, its first year of release, according to VGChartz.
“There’s a market for this type of game, and there wasn’t a type of game like this for the Vita,” he said.
Sketchcross uses nonogram puzzles, which feature cells in a grid that must be colored or left blank according to numbers at the side of the grid. When complete, it reveals a hidden picture.
The numbers are ordered to correspond with number of unbroken lines of filled-in squares in any given row or column. So a clue of “3 5 2” would mean there are sets of three, five and two filled squares, in that order, with at least one black square between each group.
Cormany said the advantage of nonograms is that they’re easy to learn, but still offer a challenge as they get more complex.
“You can very easily get into them… but it’s very robust, because the puzzles get harder as the puzzles get bigger,” he said.
The game was developed as part of the Game CoLab Incubator, a hands-on teaching program that guides developers through the process of making a game. Cormany said the program was invaluable in helping him realize Sketchcross’ potential on the Vita.
Cormany said he hasn’t ruled out a mobile release down the road, but he felt that market was saturated with similar games. The opposite was true for the Vita.
“If I only have the funds to create one platform of this game, then I’d like to give it the best opportunity to do the best that it can,” he said.
Cormany added that he prefers the Vita over the alternative anyway.
“I think it is the superior handheld,” he said. “I know many people disagree with me, but I enjoy it more than the 3DS.”
Sketchcross will launch with 50 puzzles ranging in size from 5×5 shapes to 30×30 animals. It also features a Frenzy mode, which generates an endless supply of random puzzles. It will also launch with an original score of between 10 and 15 tracks.
Cormany hopes to increase the number of both puzzles and modes through updates after release.
“We’ve always looked at Sketchcross like a platform,” he said. “We’ve made a solid base, and we’re going to improve on that. When you complete this game, you’ll be wanting more, and we’re going to give it to you.”
Sketchcross will be available this spring on the PlayStation Store.