stitch., from Lykke Studios, is the latest addition to Apple’s Apple Arcade subscription service. It’s Lykke’s third game to reach the platform and they’re three for three on puzzle games. Where lumen. had you playing with lights, and tint. required you to mix paint through paths that you created to link colours, stitch. has you complete embroidery hoops by painting out the spaces using number guides.
It’s a straightforward puzzle design, and if you only play the introductory lessons, you’d probably go away and forget stitch. after a few days. However, once you’ve finished the first few levels it really starts to open up, not only with different themes for the hoops but through larger images (some that are absolutely massive) as well as increased difficulty. The difficulty is interesting because as you might imagine, dragging out a section or shape that includes a certain number of squares doesn’t add much room for increased difficulty, however, Lykke has achieved this through incredibly clever placement of the different shapes increasing the possible uses of any given space.
Perhaps the best way to explain this is through a piece that reads six. A six shape can be rectangular (2×3) or straight (6×1), however, by placing that six-piece in the middle of a larger grid, perhaps surrounded by some nines, fours, or fives, the result isn’t always so clear-cut, especially because the number only indicates the tiles in the finished shape, not the placement of that numbered tile within the shape. Threes are a great example of this, as the number can be at either end of the shape, or on the central tile – as you can imagine, a six piece could then stretch exponentially across the section of the hoop that you’re working on, depending on the puzzle.
Even if have a rough idea of what you’re colouring (oh, this is the mouth of the dinosaur, the tip of the tree, the sail of the boat) it doesn’t help too much as the actual picture only comes into play at the end of the hoop. In this way, while it has similarities to the zone-painting of Picross, you can get yourself knotted up with adjacent numbers of the same colour.
stitch. has a very cool textural design, with threads popping in as you paint them, notably though, the different colours and shades are textured differently – so if you’re colourblind to green then the dinosaur might look like all one colour, but the different texture-patterning will allow the eye to differentiate the sections.
While stitch. is likely to not massively challenge anybody, it also won’t frustrate, and sometimes zone-painting is exactly what you need to keep the mind busy on a quiet day – or to create a moment of calm in a busy one.