As somebody who loves playing Pokémon and doing puzzles, I was actually quite excited to hear about Pokémon Picross. I’d heard some very mixed reviews about this new game, but I couldn’t wait!
Pokémon Picross is a puzzle-solving game where you fill in certain squares on a board to reveal the portrait of a Pokémon. Unlike most other Picross games, however, the player can use the skills acquired by the Pokémon they discover to help them progress through the game.
As soon as it hit midnight I immediately opened up the eShop on my 3DS to download the free game. Alas, the game was not yet available. After checking several times I decided to cut my losses and hit the sack, and try again in the morning.
And now, lo and behold, we have Pokémon Picross!
The game starts off as all puzzle games should: with a tutorial to explain how it works. Professor Tetra is the little pixelated character that guides you through the first few puzzles, and gives you ‘Picrites’ whenever you complete one. However, the tutorial is optional and you can choose to just get straight to the puzzles without reading through all the text. You also have the option of choosing whether to use the buttons or the stylus for the game; I personally find it a lot easier to use the stylus.
The puzzle screens are very simple. On the touch screen you have the puzzle board, which varies in size depending on the level. You also have the buttons for selecting the pen option or the cross option to fill in the board, and the ‘START’ button to pause the game and open up a settings menu. The top screen shows you how many ‘Picrites’ you have, the number of the puzzle, your time, and a view of your puzzle in progress.
I think the puzzle view on the top screen is a very nice feature. It lets you see how much of the Pokémon you have uncovered so far, and if you get a bit stuck it means that you can sometimes guess a couple of the squares.
The puzzles themselves start off simple, and continue with the help of Professor Tetra until level 5. You are not able to catch Pokémon in these first 5 levels, and it is only upon completion that you can move on to the more interesting side of things.
After catching some Pokémon, I found that using their skills was a tad confusing, and sometimes it was simpler to just do the puzzle without them. Although I’m sure that this is just something that will become easier to understand with time.
It’s also a very simple pick up game; you don’t need hours of time to understand or enjoy the game. You can quite simply pick up your DS and play for five minutes or an hour, and still enjoy it.
My only minor issue with the game is this; if you go to incorrectly mark a square, you can’t do it. If you try to mark a square with an ‘X’ when it should instead be a coloured square, the game doesn’t let you and tells you that it is a mistake. This doesn’t last for the whole game, thankfully, but it does last a bit longer than necessary after the first tutorial levels are completed. But, like I said, it’s just a minor thing at the beginning!
All in all, the game is pretty darn cute. It’s all happy and colourful, and I can imagine it would become quite addictive! I must admit, being somebody who loves Picross puzzles already, I’m probably a bit biased.
Although it’s not going to be up there with the likes of Pokémon Yellow, I am enjoying playing Pokémon Picross so far. I would recommend it to anybody who loves Pokémon, or even if you just love simple puzzle games. It’s free, so why not give it a go?