Paint it Back iOS review

Paint it Back iOS review

I touched on the Nintendo/mobile gaming thing the other day, noting that the Japanese are really missing out by dismissing smartphone games as quick-fix distractions. Meanwhile, Oceanhorn, a blatant Zelda clone (and a brilliant one at that) is selling for £5.99 a pop. Go figure.

Similarly, I’ve been spending a ton of time with something called Paint it Back this week (or Paint it Black, as my brain insists on calling it), a game that’s clearly in love with Nintendo classic Picross. And that, friends, is a good thing.

The story here is that a ghost has accidentally erased a number of paintings in a gallery (if I had £1 for every time that’s happened…), and the artists are understandably upset. Each painting is now merely a blank canvas.

Your job is to recreate each of the paintings using number-based logic in a grid-type layout. Again, in a word: Picross.

For those unfamiliar with Picross (shame on you), there are numbers along the x and y-axis denoting how many pixels should be coloured in, and by process of elimination (there’s no guessing here) it’s possible to deduce if each pixel should be left blank or coloured in black.

Paint it Back iOS review

Say, for example, you’re dealing with a 15x15 grid and you know a particular row has 14 coloured squares; you can safely colour in the 13 squares in the middle of that row, safe in the knowledge that either the leftmost or rightmost pixel will be left blank.

Each Paint it Back puzzle continues in that fashion until you’ve correctly identified all the coloured pixels, at which point the pixilated mess morphs into a beautiful painting.

And that’s Paint it Back in a nutshell. The first 30 paintings are entirely free (£1.99 to unlock the full 140), so there’s no excuse not to try it out.

Time absolutely flies when you’re playing Paint it Back; it’s an excellent little time killer, especially later in the game when you encounter colossal paintings comprised of multiple puzzles.

Paint it Back also deserves praise for bringing a touch of character to proceedings. Specifically, the paintings have ridiculous names, including “Mugged While Tightrope Walking”, “Never Catch a Falling Star Bare-Handed”, and “On the Day of the Apocalypse, Treat Yourself to a Popsicle”. Brilliant.

No sign of Paint it Back on Google Play (you might want to check out Oh! Cube instead), but if you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, I insist that you play it RIGHT NOW. Please.


  • It’s Picross!
  • The humorous names for the paintings
  • Time flies


  • Maybe a tad samey after a while

Summary: For iDevice users, Paint it Back is the answer to your Picross-scented prayers. Excellent.

Developer: Casual Labs LLC

Price: free @ App Store (£1.99 to unlock all levels)

Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Paint it Back iOS review

Read more about: Apple iPad AirApple iPhone 5siOSApple iPad 2Apple iPad 3Apple iPad 4Apple iPad miniApple iPad mini 2Apple iPhone 4Apple iPhone 4SApple iPhone 5Apple iPhone 5c

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