My Nintendo DS Lite has been poked and prodded over many a puzzle game for quite a few years now. My love for Picross started when the original DS version came out a few years ago. I would spend hours upon hours on these puzzles, stopping only when my hands fell asleep (which, based upon the DS’s blocky design, was quite often).
While I adored Picross, something was always missing. The puzzles would be solved and I would be left with a flat design of squares, reminiscent of 8 bit Mario but without the fun “boing” jumping sound. It did the job, but there was always something off. I could forgive the crappy graphics because the amount of puzzles the game provided was more than adequate. I put it down once I beat all the puzzles and didn’t really give it a second thought.
Only a few months ago, Nintendo released Picross 3D. My passion for poking puzzle boxes was reignited and I picked up my copy post-haste. After turning the game on, I quickly noticed that the 3D pictures were almost just as flat as the original Picross, and even harder to discern what the pictures are halfway through the puzzle. This could get interesting.
The game begins with a short tutorial on how to begin to solve the puzzles. Instead of choosing “block” or “select” from the screen, the player uses the d-pad to choose an option to solve the puzzle. This can get confusing, especially if you’re on a hot streak and accidentally choose “block” when you meant to choose “select”.
Another difference is that there is no zoom-in function. What you see is what you get: a big block that needs to get chiseled into some sort of picture that might or might not look like what it’s supposed to be. You are only allowed five hits. After you’ve messed up five times, you’re taken back to the starting menu and have to begin the ordeal over again.
With each puzzle, you are able to earn stars. There are three stars within each puzzle: perfect game (no hits), good time (puzzle finished within the time frame), and a star just for completing the puzzle. If you earn a set amount of stars for each level, you are able to unlock a silver and a gold puzzle for each.
After each puzzle is completed, the picture that you unlocked is now available in a gallery. There are themes to each gallery, and once you unlock all of the pictures for that particular gallery, you can easily see what the theme is. Some of these themes will leave you scratching your head and wondering what the developers were smoking when they came up with them.
There are also special trials between each level, such as shortened time and one hit only. You cannot advance to the next level unless you complete these trials. This makes me angry, especially because, while I can complete a puzzle quickly (I’m just awesome like that), I often make a few mistakes along the way. Oops. Sometimes I get a little cocky with my stylus.
All in all, I love Picross 3D because I love puzzle games. The graphics sort of suck, but the game makes up for it by offering a vast array of new puzzles to try. In this case, quantity is better than quality. If you love addicting puzzle games and wasting time like I do, then you should definitely give Picross 3D a try.