The latest game in the Touch Generations series successfully translates the addictive, number-based logic of Picross to a 3D environment. Picross 3D offers incredible value and contains over 350 puzzles, with even more available via friends and the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
The game is most easily described as sculpture-by-numbers. Starting with a large, rectangular block players will break down cubes to reveal a colourful, chibi-esque sculpture. Numbers represent the total amount of cubes that should appear in a given row or column and, a bit like in Sudoku, you will use your logic to find which cubes belong in the puzzle or not. Symbols also indicate whether the cubes appear in a continuous series, in sets of two or more. Read More...
Each puzzle is timed to be completed within 5 to 30 minutes, depending on its difficulty. Most will allow up to five mistakes, except for "one-chance challenge" puzzles which allow none. Players will receive three stars for completing a puzzle under the required time and without any mistakes. Stars add up to unlock silver and gold trophy puzzles at the end of each level. Once solved, the puzzle reveals the sculpture set in a thematic background which players can view again in the game gallery.
Picross 3D offers five difficulty modes which get progressively unlocked. In beginner mode a tutorial shows players all the ropes. However, there is no way to skip this section to immediately start solving puzzles. Those returning to the Picross series or starting the game a second time may find this feature annoying.
The game is played with the stylus and a combination of d-pad buttons to highlight or remove cubes. Using the stylus alone lets you rotate the block to view it. The game also introduces slicers--blue and pink diamonds that appear at the corners of the block. Sliding the slicers back and forth lets players view each layer of the block independently, an essential tool to successfully solving the puzzles.
Players have the ability to create their own puzzles in My Picross. Either based on a sample or built from scratch, players get to chose the background, music and puzzle colours and have the option to go back and edit any puzzle. You can share your puzzles with others via local connection, as well as download and play those made by your friends.
The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection also lets you download and unlock Puzzle Packs, which you can access in My Picross. There are also Puzzle Challenges; competitions asking users to upload their best original puzzle relating to a given theme. After the deadline, judges will review all submissions and later release the best entries for download.
With this growing online content and over 350 included puzzles, Picross 3D offers excellent value. After playing for about 15 hours, I am only about one third through the game with lots more to unlock. While some players returning to the series may find the game easy at the beginning, most players will appreciate the challenge. Addictive, simple and fun, Picross 3D is a great portable title for puzzle fans of all ages.
+ Lots of Content with More Available Online
+ Fun to Play for Hours
+ Puzzle Creator Mode
- Unskippable Tutorial
Game Forward Score: 4/5
Nathalie Caron > Game Forward
Picross 3D (Nintendo DS) Quick Facts:
Developer: HAL Laboratory Inc.
Release Date: March 12, 2010
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)