Pixel Puzzles: Japan combines traditional jigsaw puzzle style gameplay with light video-game interactivity.
User reviews: Mostly Positive (313 reviews)
Release Date: Apr 17, 2014
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Recommended By Curators

"Like jigsaw puzzles where the puzzle pieces move around? If so then get this game, its a great challenge and great for casual players. "
Read the full review here.

Reviews

“If you are looking for a nice relaxing game where you don't have to worry about quick reflexes then you can't go wrong with Pixel Puzzles: Japan.”
8/10 – GAMERamble

“Pixel Puzzles: Japan a game to relax too!”
NerdMaldito

About This Game

Pixel Puzzles: Japan combines traditional jigsaw puzzle style gameplay with light video-game interactivity. As you build puzzles your monk will gain higher consciousness states. The higher the level of your monks concentration the bigger the puzzle you can attempt. All hand drawn in a beautiful Japanese aesthetic, Pixel Puzzles: Japan is perfect for puzzlers and gamers alike.

Features:

  • Traditional puzzle gameplay.
  • Relaxing Japanese atmosphere.
  • 26 Steam Achievements.
  • 19 puzzles in a range of sizes from 60 to 350 pieces.
  • Multiple FREE DLC bonus puzzles
  • Beautiful photos taken on site in Japan.
  • Interactive play environment.
  • Progressive I-ching powers that give insight into puzzles.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7, Vista
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX 9.0 Compatible
    • Hard Drive: 85 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Generic Sound Device
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7, Vista
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX 9.0 Compatible
    • Hard Drive: 85 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Generic Sound Device
Helpful customer reviews
60 of 74 people (81%) found this review helpful
93.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 1, 2014
So why do I not recommend this game yet still love the game???? Well the answer is quite puzzling...

Let me begin by saying that if you enjoy a good jigsaw puzzle you will find great enjoyment within this game. There is a definite feel of working a jigsaw puzzle here and it's quite relaxing and enjoyable. The pictures are decent and give some good challenge in matching up the pieces and once you get to the larger piece puzzles it really feels like your working a real jigsaw puzzle on a table top.

Another interesting slant on this game is that in many puzzles the pieces are cut in ways you could never cut a real life puzzle. This is good in the sense that it opens up new challenges with matching up pieces and actually adds to the puzzle experience in ways that only a virtual puzzle could. It's bad in a way too though because some of these cut styles up the difficulty in matching pieces by cut to sky high levels that make it nearly impossible to do, leaving you to rely on color matching alone. If you’re looking for more challenge though this is certainly a way to get it in ways that physical puzzles could never match so I think this is certainly a positive overall.

So where does it all go so wrong?? It's a couple of things that on the lower end, smaller piece puzzles, you won't experience too badly but as you climb up to the high piece puzzles will have you ripping your hair out. The first and most obvious fault is that there is NO mid puzzle save feature. On the small piece puzzles this isn't so much an issue as you can solve them in 15-20 minutes tops. However as you approach the larger piece puzzles this becomes an issue as most people don't have all morning or night to finish a puzzle. Your only option is to leave the game running in the background of your computer, which isn't a horrible option, but sucks down your computers resources if you'd like to go play another game for a while or sucks down electricity if you'd rather just power down your computer for the night.... And there's really no excuse for why the developers couldn't have coded a simple mid-puzzle save feature for this.

The second flaw is in piece selection. The pieces float around in a "river" around the puzzle which honestly works as it allows you to see the pieces and really resembles the pieces in a box being shaken around a bit only probably better as all the pieces are right side up. Another area where virtual is somewhat better than real life. The problem occurs when you see a piece floating out there amongst all the other pieces that you know fits somewhere and you go to grab it, it's as if the program actually goes out of its way to give you every piece except the one you want.... You'll be clicking and clicking though a million pieces just to get the one you want that you can see right in front of you. Several times per puzzle I've clicked on the piece I wanted while it was clearly in the open, with my curser only touching that piece, and been given a different piece. Then when I release that unwanted piece back into the river the piece I wanted disappears from its current location and reappears somewhere else, usually in a mess of many other pieces again..... Super frustrating.

At the end of the day, because of those flaws I cannot in all fairness give this game a recommendation. These are flaws that could have, and should have been addressed by the developer before or soon after the game was released. Is there a market for virtual jigsaw puzzle games?? I think the answer is yes. Ways to improve upon the design?? First off mid-puzzle saving is a must. Second off improve the puzzle selection process and perhaps give us two to four "ponds" to place specific pieces in where they will float around separated from the river. Lastly, maybe allow for players to use their own pictures to create their own original puzzles. Maybe even have a Steam Workshop for those puzzles..... I certainly think there's a market for jigsaw puzzle games but this one has too many frustrating flaws to really grow that market...
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23 of 31 people (74%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
17.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 27, 2014
Very challenging jigsaw puzzles games. Be careful not to smash your laptop/CPU playing this game.
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12 of 12 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 14
I enjoyed Pixel Puzzle: Japan, for what it was.

This game was exactly what it claimed to be. A Jig-Saw Puzzle Game with the puzzles being pictures from Japan.
It's fairly relaxing, due to there being no timer, alowing you to take as long as you need to complete each puzzle.
The game has 19 puzzles. There's not much variety, other than the different puzzle-pictures, & different sized puzzles.
Sizes start at 60pieces, then 112 pieces, 153 pieces, 220 pieces, & the last puzzle has 350 pieces.
There are 26 Achievements, & all are easy & involve finishing all the puzzles.
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11 of 12 people (92%) found this review helpful
12.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 17, 2014
Pixel Puzzles: Japan is actually the first jigsaw game on Steam and adds a few nice twists that would not be possible with a physical jigsaw puzzle. As the title suggests, the focus is on beautiful Japanese scenes that are revealed as you progress through the nineteen puzzles that are available.The basic goal is to assemble a picture by fitting together the puzzle pieces. The puzzle pieces come in all shapes and sizes so you have to pay attention to the image and the shape of each piece to figure out where it fits into the picture. Puzzles in this game range from ones with 60 pieces to one with a whopping 350 pieces. Instead of using the box cover as a reference as you would with a traditional jigsaw puzzle, this game gives you a blank slate to work with. You can view a small picture of the puzzle before attempting it, but after that you are essentially working blind. As you put together the pieces an "I Ching" meter is filled which, when completely full, allows you to view the full picture for a few seconds.Each puzzle in the game not only has a different image, but the actual shapes of the pieces differ as well. Some of the puzzles have pieces with very strange shapes that you won't see in real-life and it adds another layer of challenge. You don't have to worry about time limits or objectives though. The visuals are rather nice for a casual game and I quite liked the Japanese scenes of bridges, pagodas and cherry blossoms. Like the gameplay, the audio is very relaxing with some soothing tunes and the sound of a shishi-odoshi.If you are looking for a nice relaxing game where you don't have to worry about quick reflexes then you can't go wrong with Pixel Puzzles: Japan.
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
19.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 14
If you like jigsaw puzzles this is a good game to try. The music is soothing and the puzzles make lovely pictures. There are 26 achievements that are fun to get. It took me almost 20 hours to get them all.

There are three drawbacks. First there is no save feature. So you have to complete each puzzle before leaving the game or start over. Some of the harder puzzles took me a couple hours or so to complete so this was quite annoying. Second the piece size decreases since they cannot increase the puzzle size. If you have a small computer screen or poor eyesight this may make things difficult. Third a few of the puzzles make it hard to pick up the piece you want you have to grab other pieces and move them away from the piece you want in order to grab it.

Even with these drawbacks it is an enjoyable experience and I am glad to have purchased the game. However waiting for a sale might be a good idea.
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
19.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 14, 2014
If you like jigsaw puzzles and have enough patience to spend even a couple of hours until you finish one, then this game will probably be fun for you.

There are currently 19 puzzles to complete (with 2 extra recently added), each of them rewarding an achievement. The difficulty of the picture and the number of pieces scale with level. However, since this game does not have a save option, you might be required to allocate a few continuous hours from your time in order to solve some of the more difficult puzzles.

I also found a bit frustrating the fact that the avaliable pieces move non-stop and stack on each other, making the selection for a certain piece very difficult. Even more so, when you click on a specific piece, the game often offers you randomly one from its vicinity instead of the targeted one.
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
9.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 7, 2014
Very nice game to relax with. :]
The overal idea of the game is what I like mostly.

+The puzzle pictures
+Different 'skill' levels
+Different shapes of the puzzle pieces which can make it a bit of a challenge in some cases.

The moving pieces makes me a bit 'nervous' at times though.
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9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
24.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 4, 2014
This is the first game I have achieved 100% achievements in. This should indicate that this is a game where 100%-ing is relatively easy. Overall I would say Pixel Puzzles: Japan is a good relaxing experience under several conditions:
1. You enjoy jigsaw puzzles (surprise!).
2. You like or at least do not mind oriental-themed images (well it says "JAPAN" in the title after all).
3. You do not rush yourself (or, in case you are not prepared to alt+tab out of the game at any given time you don't play the last 3-4 levels).
Well 1 is pretty much obvious in of itself.
Concerning 2 I have to say that the pictures chosen for puzzles (again from the point of view of someone interested in South-East Asia and its beauty) are splendid and wonderful. Looking at them is a pleasure. The accompanying sounds of a water pipe and what does seem to be a shamisen are very helpful in relaxing. They are letting all your troubled minds go away and let you settle down well. The music seems to adapt to your actions and plays more intensively the more pieces you match and the faster you do it. There also some "interactive" sounds available for playing with koi or puzzle pieces (in particular, there is a very satisfying sound when the piece touches the sand). The sand color can also be varied to better outline your puzzle pieces.
Now it is 3 that I would like to emphasize. The last puzzles are so complex and huge (many small pieces) that, if you are trying to rush yourself through them, (e.g. for the achievements) you might feel a bit frustrated. And the game does not save your progress so your only way of taking breaks is to alt+tab out its window. So do not hurry!
More than that there are two additional problems: in the end there are SO many pieces it is quite impossible to fetch the right ones (the ones your see and want to grab) out of your koi pond as they overlap too much and you pretty much have to drag out whatever you can manage to grab with your cursor "hand".
The last problem I have personally had was a bit subjective (perhaps, people with bigger/better screens would not have it). The very last puzzle had the most pieces and they were so tiny that the "reflection" effects, which the game adds on their borders to make the pieces look more volumetric, obscured some of the fine details of the picture (and there were A LOT of fine details there). So in the very very end of the puzzle I basically had to exhaustively try various combinations to fit the pieces in.
Again all of the above is NOT a problem, if you take breaks and just chill yourself out to the ambient sounds, enjoy the beautiful views and do not rush yourself forward. If you want easier and more relaxing experience - just play earlier levels again, they provide just that in spades.
Overall I DO recommend to try out this game, especially if you see it on sale where it can be really really cheap.
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9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
21.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 24, 2014
Relaxing puzzle with beautiful Japanese images, different levels and shapes.
I like the overall idea though I need to point one thing: the moving pieces makes me a bit 'nervous'.
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9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
8.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 23
何の工夫も変哲もない、至って普通のジグソーパズル
時折あるアタリのピースを嵌めると陰陽ゲージが貯まり
ゲージ解放で五秒ほど完成図を閲覧できる他は特殊操作もない

模様を頼りに隣接するだろうピース同士を隣に置いても
スナップして塊にはなってくれず、代わりに周囲8マスの
どれとも接続していなくても正しい座標に置きさえすれば
正解の音が鳴ってそこに固定されてしまうのには首を傾げる

ミルクパズルだろうとひたすらそこらに適当に置いてみる
の繰り返しでクリア出来てしまうっていうか桜の絵柄のとか
模様が何のヒントにもならないのでそれをせざるを得ない

なにかしら悩んだところで解決しない類の問題を抱えてて
頭空っぽにして単純作業に没頭したい時にオススメ
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7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
26.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 9
There are some minor technical issues (like volume control bugging and piece fishing being annoying at times).

But other than that the game is fun, beautiful and relaxing.
(I only wish you'd be able to turn off the music but keep the sound effects on).

Absolutely recommended.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
151.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 4
Most beautiful relaxing puzzle game I have found. It has alot going for it.
Pluses-Nice music.
Floating puzzle pieces that you have to catch.
Nice pictures of Japan that you have to build.
Cons-No save. You cannot save your puzzle so you have to build it all at once. It can take a really long time. Such an easy feature that is missing it seems.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
9.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 12, 2014
After fully completing the game (9 hours for one playthrough), I'm finally reviewing it, and I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys jigsaw puzzles. I LOVE jigsaws, but find myself unable to partake in many because I have so few flat surfaces around my home, and I also have quite a few cats that are always determined to chew and eat the pieces. Pixel Puzzles allows the player to piece together jigsaws without the hassle.

There are a few pros and cons to the game when compared to regular jigsaws that I thought I'd point out. For one, the puzzles are extraordinarily easy for those of us who are used to piecing together 500 or 1000 piece + jigsaw puzzles. Why? The top tier puzzle is, I believe, only 300 pieces, for one thing. Another thing is that the pieces are always rightside up; that is, you never have to turn pieces around clockwise or counter-clockwise to try different sides in different places. When you place a piece in its respective spot, it "clicks" into place, which can be seen as a pro and a con. For one thing, that's convenient, but for another, sometimes I would place a piece in about the area I thought it would go, and it would snap into place, taking away the challenge of guesswork, trial and error. There were also a few times I'd grab pieces that were unique to save them for later, only for them to snap into place simply because I'd placed them on the board in just the right place, when I'd had no intention on placing it yet.

Many reviews state the lack of a save feature as a flaw, but I had no trouble with this. I'd sit down for an hour and knock a few of them out. I 100% the game without knowing whether or not there was a save feature, since I never needed it. The puzzles have so few pieces even in the top tiers that 45 minutes to an hour is the most you will likely need to set aside.

The one flaw that actually DID bother me that others have mentioned is the piece selection. Unused pieces float around the borders of the puzzle area in a pool of water, and they can overlap while floating. If you see a piece you want, it can take a few tries to pick the right one, and this can, admittedly, be infuriating. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and one of my "obsessions" is that I have to complete the border of a jigsaw puzzle before placing any middle pieces. This one flaw had me reeling quite a few times, because I'd have my eye on a border piece and kept trying incessantly to pick it up, only to pick up dozens of middle pieces in the process. This was pretty time consuming, since I couldn't progress in the puzzle personally until I had the border complete, and this sometimes would take picking up half of the entire puzzle's pieces and setting them aside to accomplish.

The last issue with the game is that I couldn't find a way to view what the completed puzzle would look like once I was putting it together. So in the midst of a puzzle, the player can't pick up a piece and check the "box", if you will, to guess just about where it will go. In the end, while this is technically an issue, I didn't mind it. It presented a challenge in the game that I enjoyed taking on due to the fact that the game is easier than regular jigsaws.

All in all, if you like jigsaws, you will probably enjoy this, and I highly recommend it for those of you who find it hard to make the room for physical jigsaws, as this is the next best thing. While the game is fairly short, I thought it was a great deal as I got it on sale and I ended up paying less than $1.00 per hour of playtime, which is a great value. I highly encourage the developers to consider more pixel puzzle games with other varieties of subject matters, as I'll definitely be supporting future releases.
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
19.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 8, 2014
If you like puzzles and the fact that those puzzles are GLORIOUS NIPPON themed then this game is for you! 19 increasingly challenging puzzles, great to survive work and other activities. No pretentiousness or anything here, just some nice fun.

I know this could work better as a mobile game but, hey, you don't have Steam cards an achievements in mobile!

Word of warning: until cloud saving is implemented, your saves are not carried from PC to PC. You'll have to manually copy them!
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
5.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 14, 2014
This is the first I've played of any of the puzzle games and I was surprised at how much I got into it. It's great for passing time and relaxing or distressing after a day of hard work. It;s especially great if you like puzzles.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
13.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 4
While I enjoyed this game, and played it to completion, one particular flaw was simply to big for me to recommend it.

First, the Good:

1. It's jigsaw puzzle game on Steam!

2. Plenty of pictures gives you plenty of jigsawing to do

3. Different puzzles have the pieces "cut up" very differently, adding to the variety

4. As you'd expect, it's pretty relaxing just slowly taking your time to work on the puzzle, and then it feels really good when the puzzle is almost completed and you can just plop the remaining free pieces in the remaining holes without any searching :)


The Bad:

1. The worst issue with the game - picking the puzzle piece you want out of a group of other pieces is an exercise in frustration, especially in the latter puzzles when so many pieces are floating in the river. You can click directly on a puzzle piece, and the game then hands the piece that was hiding underneath it - over and over again. I sometimes took me literally a dozen tries to pick up a single puzzle piece! This one flaw by itself is what had me click the "No" for this review.

The final puzzle is by far the largest, and has 350 piece. As soon as I started it and saw the river absolutely full of overlapping pieces, I despaired - only to find out, to my amazement, that I was flawlessly picking up every single piece that I was intentionally clicking on! 30 pieces in a row, with no mistakes - what sorcery is this??? It's as if the QA testers complained to the programmers that this puzzle was unplayable, and they fixed the issue only in the final puzzle. Yes, it seems ridiculous, but I honestly cannot think of any other explanation.

2. No way to save progress in the middle of a puzzle. Some puzzles take hours to do, and if you exit the game, you gotta start them all over!

3. The music, while pleasant enough in the beginning, just loops over and over and over, and it's the same song for every single puzzle. Thankfully you can mute it, though that also mutes the few sound effects.

4. The colors in a most of the pictures seem washed out, though maybe that's a style thing.


The Differences From Physical Jigsaw Puzzles Which May Be Good or Bad Depending On Your Point Of View:

1. The puzzle pieces are always oriented in the proper direction, so there is never any need (or ability) to rotate them.

2. When dropped on the board close to their correct spot in the picture, the puzzle pieces automatically shift and stick there. There have been many times where I'd accidentally plop a piece down in the right spot. This also allows you to "hunt" for the right spot by just moving a piece around the board in small increments.

3. There is no way to stick two puzzle pieces together when you know they match each other, but do not know where exactly in the picture they belong.

4. The only way to view the full picture of the puzzle you're solving (without taking a screenshot of the level-select screen) is with a hint-style button, which slowly lights up as you place pieces in their proper spots. When you do use the button, it turns the board you're solving into the complete picture for a few seconds during which you can still move and place the puzzle pieces.

So yes, I mostly enjoyed the game when it was not frustrating me with the puzzle piece selection issue. If the devs fix that, I'll switch the recommendation to Yes.
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11 of 18 people (61%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 29, 2014
Chill game but there is no way to save your progress so you lose everything unless you have 4 hours to power though a puzzle at a time. cant recommend without save feature
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 22, 2014
The pieces keep floating around the edge and when you click on something, the hit box detetction is so poor you just end up getting a random piece.

This game would actually have been good if they had just stuck with the usual puzzle layout and allow you to organise your pieces instead of the whole pond and monk thing...
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 5
This is the first jigsaw puzzle game I've played on Steam. It's very similar to the early 2000 Shockwave browser puzzles and I really enjoyed it. I would definitely play more similar games.

Pros:
- Jigsaw puzzle
- Interesting theme (Japan) and pictures
- Achievements/Cards

Cons:
- There is no actual space to stack the pieces, except the puzzle area itself


7/10
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
12.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 20, 2014
Pixel Puzzles: Japan is just an amazing Puzzle-Game. The atmosphere is chilled and the puzzles are just amazing. I just love it.
Also it's not just puzzling, you've to take the right puzzles and this is sometimes really really hard. :)

Well, at least it was rly funny, relaxing and beautiful. ♥
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