We’re taking a break from all the crazy new games the kids are playing these days and throwing it back to some classic mobile puzzling. If you go back far enough, you’ll find that Tetris was the first mobile game ever created, so it’s not a stretch to say that puzzlers are the birthplace of mobile gaming. Of course, things have come a long way since then, but every now and then you just want to play a simple game that holds all of its magic in its core concept: the puzzles. Two Eyes – Nonogram does exactly that, bringing a popular type of puzzle, nonograms, effortlessly into the mobile space.
This gem executes its ideas with finesse and even adds a little fluff into the margins with a touching story. Two Eyes – Nonogram can get its hooks into you very quickly, simply by virtue of how fun the puzzles are. This is a contender for one of the best puzzle games on Android, without a doubt.
Nonograms are known by many different names around the world, but the core concept behind them remains the same. A nonogram is a picture logic puzzle where you have a 10×10 grid (grids can be larger or smaller, but we’ll use 10×10 as our example) and each space on the grid either needs to be filled in or left blank to form a given image.
You don’t know what the image is, but you have numbers for each row and column guiding your choices, like this (please don’t fact check my terrible example puzzle, I made this up on the fly):
|4||2, 1||1, 1||4|
As you can see, rows/columns with more continuous numbers are easier to figure out. Got a whole row that’s filled in? Great, check that bad boy off first because that will make figuring out the other numbers around it easier. With smaller, or more broken up numbers, like a 2-1 scheme or a 2-1-1-2, you just have to make sure that there’s at least one space between where one grouping ends and the next one begins.
On a larger 10×10 grid, you can imagine how this would become more difficult, especially in cases where all of the other rows and columns are just as obscure. Like Sudoku, it’s a simple concept that has the potential to become incredibly complex the more advanced you become. I sat down to play “just a few” puzzles last night and wound up playing for over an hour. It’s a very addicting game.
But there are many games out there featuring nonograms, so what makes Two Eyes special?
The various options for adjusting the difficulty level make this puzzler great for beginners and puzzlemasters alike
First off, one of the best things about Two Eyes is that it gives you some great ways to change up the difficulty level with auto-fill, auto-check, color, and even a health option. Auto-fill automatically places grayed-out Xs in a row or column once you’ve successfully filled in the correct boxes. Auto-check does the same thing, but with the numbers for each column or row. So if you had a column with a pattern like 2-1-1-2 and you had successully filled in the last 2, then the numbers would look like 2-1-1-2. It all just makes it clearer to see what you’ve done correctly.
These features are awesome for making the game more beginner friendly and can be turned on or off at any time in any given puzzle, even one you’ve already started. You also have the choice of whether or not to enable Health, which will tick down as you make wrong guesses, and color vs. monochrome, which makes the images harder to make out.
There’s even a bit of story happening in the margins around this lovely puzzler. Two Eyes tells the heartfelt story of a couple who are tragically killed in an accident while their love is still young. These two soul mates won’t be deterred though, and they meet again in reincarnated forms of a wolf and a deer. The images you’re uncovering throughout the game play into their story and you unlock more and more of it as you progress. It’s a nice touch, but totally unnecessary to the game’s enjoyment.
I don’t have any major complaints against this well-executed title, but the ads in the free version can be annoying
It’s hard to lodge any serious complaints against a game with such a simple and well-executed central focus, but a fair amount of players have grievances against the intrusive ads in the free version. I would also personally like more options for music and backgrounds for your play boards, but these are just nice-to-haves.
Overall, Two Eyes is a superb puzzler; a perfect pocket companion for a one-off puzzle here and there or an hours-long session of as many puzzles as you can solve before your hand starts to cramp. Two Eyes is free with ads, or free without ads if you’re a Play Pass subscriber.