Game – Picross e2
Version – 3DS eShop
ESRB Rating – E (Everyone)
Price – $5.99
Release Date – 25/7/2013
Publisher – Jupiter Corporation
Obtained – Purchased from the 3DS eShop
Jupiter has been bringing Picross games to Nintendo platforms since Mario’s Picross back in 1995. With 18 years of experience, you’d think that the games would keep getting better and better… right?
Gameplay & Controls
If you’ve played a Picross game before, then you should already understand how Picross e2 works. It involves filling out grid-based puzzles using numerical clues in order to create pixel-art images. The d-pad is used to select one of the squares on the grid, and you can either fill in your selection or mark it with an ‘x’, indicating that it is not used in the picture. Picross e2 adds in optional stylus control that can make solving puzzles quicker. The easiest of these puzzles are on 5×5 grids, and the hardest are 15×15. The difficulty also varies based on the complexity of the image, namely in the number of gaps between each pixel on the image.
The above screenshot shows one of the easier Picross puzzles. Numerical clues are on the edge of each horizontal and vertical grid. The ‘7’ in the eighth column from the left indicates that there are seven filled-in squares side by side. The “1 7” in the third row from the top means that there is one filled in square, followed by at least one space, and then seven filled-in squares. There are many different ways to approach each puzzle, and multiple strategies that can be used to solve them. As the player spends more time solving inceasingly difficult puzzles, strategies become apparent and almost second-nature.
Visuals & Sound
Picross e2 has sleek menu designs, but lacks any character or personality, making it feel hollow and lifeless. Mario’s Picross had an archeological theme in which Mario would carve the puzzles into stone, and some of these puzzles were based on classic Mario enemies and power-ups. Picross 3D featured puzzles that would animate after you solved them, and they were almost all interesting to watch. These additions made it fun to solve each puzzle, but Picross e2 lacks any of the charm of its predecessors. As well, the music fails to be catchy or memorable, meaning that most gamers will play it while listening to something else. Aesthetically, Picross e2 is a huge disappointment, considering how excellently previous games in the series have dealt with visuals and sound.
Final Score: 6 out of 10
The gameplay and controls of Picross e2 are just as good as they have always been, and the addition of stylus control makes solving puzzles quicker. The problem with the game lies in its aesthetics. It lacks the style, interesting puzzles and catchy music of its predecessors. Picross e2 is enjoyable when you are only solving a few puzzles every day, but it is so flat and boring that you might as well pick up Mario’s Picross instead.
+ Tons of puzzles
+ Nice variety in difficulty
+ No need to unlock harder puzzles
+ Many hours (around 30) of contact
– Bland puzzles
– Boring music
– Lack of style
– More of the same
Alexandre Trottier has spent around 139 hours playing Picross, between Mario’s Picross, Picross 3D and Picross e2. For a long time his family felt like they may need to stage an intervention, but Picross e2 has put him off of the series for quite a while. If you know of any challenging puzzle games, you can tell him by tweeting @NF_Alexandre or by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Head over to the NintenoFuse forums to talk about all things gaming (and more), and be sure to use the “share” buttons below to tweet the article, like it on Facebook, etcetera.