Picross is back, now with 50% extra dimensions!
There’s an abundant choice when it comes to DS puzzle games and its not hard to see why, with its features and early strong library of games more just keep coming. The problem with a system that’s really good at something and that’s really popular because of that same something, is that it quickly becomes flooded with knockoff games and minor gimmicks and the DS’ puzzle library sometimes feels like it could end up taking the same path as the Wii’s fitness and mini game routes. In the end there’s only so many ways you can ‘spin’ the same type of game before the formula wears thin. Now enter Picross 3D for the Nintendo DS, now with 3D puzzles you have to spin around to solved. Is this turn for the series enough to keep it feeling like something new?
The Picross series revolves around solving nonogram puzzles, which behave like some mixture between Minesweeper and sudoku except that rather than being left with a random assortment of tiles and numbers, you’re instead left with an image. There’s a quick and useful tutorial mode included that teaches the basics rather quickly and like every good puzzle there are less than a handful of rules that you need to follow, with the increased difficulty coming from larger objects, increasingly complex shapes and fewer clues. The act of navigating a 3D puzzle is kept simple, moving the stylus across the screen will cause the cube to rote and taping the screen while holding a button will break a block or flag it. The tricky part when dealing with the puzzles in when you need to work on the inside of the shape, when this is required you can slice the shape in a pair of directions to access out of reach areas. This slicing system works well and on the whole quickly navigating the 3d objects on a 2D screen is something you’ll learn to do quickly.
There are over 350 puzzles available in Picross 3D, a little more than the previous Picross DS, extra levels can be downloaded through Nintendo Wi-Fi or created through the level builder. To begin with you’ll be knocking levels down in under the five minutes but as things progress the time limit extends along with the size and complexity of the puzzles. Completing a puzzle within the time limit and without mistakes will earn you extra stars that unlock bonus puzzles to complete. As you complete different puzzles you’ll unlock animations and the completed shapes get added to different collection sets. For some building these collections might be a lure to continue solving puzzles but there’s an addictive quality to solving these puzzles that is rather unmatched as you try to play ‘just one more puzzle’
Picross 3D is a steal at just $20 and while the addition of 3D might not add as much as something like colour, the game still feels fresh and is enjoyable as ever. Anyone who’s a fan of puzzle games such as Minesweeper or Sudoko should take a look into Picross 3D, it’s a great example of addictive, complex, simplicity.