Picross Island

This thread is for all things Picross!

Along with a surprisingly big part of the board I share a weird obsession for Picross. Every once in a while I get the urge to try out a new Picross game and maybe find a hidden gem. And I imagine some people may feel the same?
I’ll review all of my Picross games here.

MARIO’S PICROSS
Gameboy

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Pros

  • The classic!
  • The good old one
  • They don’t make them like they used to be
  • Old school Mario pictures

Cons

  • Ancient controls and interface
  • Having a timer in a Picross game is horrible. We want to take our time!
  • Being able to immediately tell whenever you’ve made a mistake runs contrary to the genre’s philosophy IMO. You’re getting extra unfair help you never actually wanted, you want to earn that picture. As far as I know there’s no way to remove that feature
  • Maybe it’s not that good actually

Grade
C-

POKEMON PICROSS
3DS

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Pros

  • Catching pokemon by picrossing them

Cons

  • Agressive FTP pricing
  • Need to replay levels to unlock stuff. Who replays Picross levels? Who makes other people replay Picross levels?
  • I couldn’t play this without logging to a Nintendo account ™ so I actually instantly deleted the game. Technically I still played it for 5 seconds, so I feel allowed to review it

Grade
E

SHADY PUZZLES
Mobile

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Pros

  • Challenging

Cons

  • You’re not even drawing pictures, just random pixels.
  • Seriously, the pictures matter a lot. Yes, we could go to google images to get dozens of free pictures, but it’s not just the same, you know?

Grade
D

PAINT IT BACK
Steam / mobile

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Pros

  • Decent all around

Cons

  • Generally unattractive art direction
  • You know how fun filling huge areas is in Picross? Wish you could have more of that? This game shows it’s a bad idea
  • On mobile, pictures don’t fit on a single screen. You have to scroll. It’s horrendous.

Grade
C+ on a computer, C- on a phone

ACTUAL PEN AND PAPER PICROSS
Paper

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Pros

  • Feels amazing
  • Predates Mario’s Picross
  • Now you can smugly tell (imaginary) people « Actually the term “Picross” is just Nintendo’s rebranding… »

Cons

  • Can only be found near train stations in Belgium nowadays
  • Erasers are worthless. Don’t make mistakes.

Grade
A-

PICROSS E1/E2/E3/E4/E5
3DS

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Pros

  • Excellent art direction
  • Slick as hell
  • Two control schemes
  • Variable difficulty
  • Perfectly balanced and rewarding challenge

Cons

  • It’s on the 3DS
  • Not the best value for your buck compared to what’s out there, especially if you skip Micross
  • Micross blows. Instead of 1 puzzle = 1 picture, it’s like 50 puzzles = 1 picture. Wow. All the pictures are famous paintings, you kind of figure out which one it is after completing one tenth of the puzzles and finishing the rest is a miserable slog

Grade
B+

PICROSS E6/E7/E8/S
3DS / Switch

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Pros

  • Same as Picross E5-
  • Unlike Picross E5-, Picross E6+ have an adequate amount of Mega Picross grids. Mega Picross is more difficult, more technical, offputting at first, immensely gratifying for the weird Picross fan

Cons

  • Same as Picross E5-
  • Picross and Mega Picross share the same pictures

Grade
A

PICTLOGICA FINAL FANTASY
Mobile

Pros

  • Look at that goofy Squaresoft title
  • Extremely weird RPG mechanics in your Picross game

Cons

  • Skinner box hell
  • Gatcha hell
  • Japanese only
  • Extreme download times
  • 5x5 grids only
  • You’re not even drawing real pictures what is the point
  • The chibi-bored FF art style we hate

Grade
F

HUNGRY CAT PICROSS
Mobile

Pros

  • Colors!!
  • Ok. Picross games have often tried implementing color in their puzzles, because nowadays the kids can’t stand B&W anymore and only play videogames in color. Most implementations have failed; this one changes the rules of Picross entirely. Re-learning everything is a fun process, and makes this game stand out from the others while still maintaining an adequate amount of difficulty
  • The most consumer friendly business model : Free with ads + pay a few bucks to remove ads
  • 560 basic grids, one new giant 15x10x3x3 grid every week, and the ability to play all weekly grids from 2014, 2015 and 2016. Basically 3x more content than any other Picross game on this list

Cons

  • Picture quality is very hit and miss. Expect some disgusting messes of pixels
  • There are pop culture references every fourth puzzle or so. There’s nothing as disheartening as finishing a picross puzzle and the picture being, like, a stormtrooper
  • One pretty insensitive representation of east asian people out there

Grade
A

24 Likes

Hungry Cat Picross is my jam, I play it almost every morning on the train. I love Picross when I’m listening to music or podcasts, because it makes excellent use out of the precise regions of my brain left over.

The two best picross games I’ve ever played were both on the Nintendo DS: Picross DS and Picross 3D. Picross 3D is especially noteworthy for the way it keeps the main mechanics of picross but changes the central metaphor from drawing a picture to carving a sculpture.

4 Likes

EXCELLENT POST

also I played all of pokemon picross, stubbornly refusing to pay money, and you know what? it took me a full year of doing, like, one or two puzzles at a time. it is terrible.

2 Likes

If anyone has any hot tips on a picross book that I can order online, I am very interested in this.

1 Like

DS was both my introduction (I think) and my best experience so far. But, as someone who played all the way through 3D, let me tell ya, the late game is terrible due to strict rules and sketchy hit detection.

please play the arcade game logic pro, it makes an actual videogame with loss conditions out of nonograms!

also stay tuned to the lcd thread for more nonogram fun coming soon

1 Like

Yeah, when Picross 3D gets too difficult it loses much of its appeal. For that reason I would not recommend the sequel they put out on the 3DS. When I found out about it I got really excited and purchased it immediately. It turns out they added a second color, which increases the complexity and difficulty beyond the threshold where I can focus on a podcast while playing it. Plus it became twice as easy to accidentally press the wrong button or misclick.

1 Like

Picross DS really is a great introduction to the world of nonograms. Last year I gave my gf my old 3DS and my old copy of Picross DS. She’s not normally one for puzzle games, but she got super into it and plays it whenever she’s not playing New Leaf.

dear selectbutton am i right in thinking that modern picross games telling the player how to logic is dumb hand-holdy? I was forged in the fires of picross ds and im swole as fuck because of it

2 Likes

I need some Picross help

Picross DS was my first as well and I snuggled my way through it. My main brain activity was in developing the heuristics I use to solve puzzles. Situations that I didn’t understand without guessing eventually fell to newer rules or re-scanning the board for known rules to apply.

But I evenetually plateau’d; the biggest boards I can’t seem to get away without a few guesses, and anything easier is so trivial that it’s more tedious.

So I ask ye esteemed nonologists: should you ever guess in this game? Is it fair to fill in based on knowing the picture, or is it all justifiable by logic without reference to the picture? Does it get tedious to fill 25-wide lines?

It’s a bit hard to say, because there are cases where guessing can lead to you realizing logical shortcuts, though there are also many cases I’ve had where if I try to guess based on the picture, and make a bad guess on a single pixel, it’ll throw off the entire rest of the puzzle.

usually, the next step to take is always visible and just requires you to parse it, but sometimes you end up sabotaging yourself and making a mess. my method is to scour the grid until you figure something, and if all else fails, clear it all and start over.

Picross 2 is best IMO

Time limit hasn’t been a real problem for me, you can opt out of hints (though you have to play a different game mode to avoid auto-you-made-a-mistake), the 2x2 panels of 15x15 work pretty well as a balance between making fun pictures and a challenging puzzle. There’s lots and lots of puzzles - I’ve been playing it in my downtime for like more than 6 months now and I’m only 3/4 through. It’s easy to play on a phone with a GBC emulator (it has Super GameBoy support and looks pretty good!). There’s a “test” mode if you ever think you need to guess that lets you undo stuff without a lot of hassle. It’s missing a few interface improvements that you’d see in say Picross for the Switch, but nothing that ruins it.

The one big con is that you have to get a translation patch if you want to understand what’s going on, but that’s the only real hassle. There is a stage of Wario’s Picross where all the puzzles are Japanese characters, that one is not very fun. Oh, and if you want to play all the puzzles in a stage you can’t fail or give up on any. It doesn’t really tell you that explicitly, which is crappy. Easy to get around though, especially with save states.

5 Likes

PIXOJI

Android
Kongregate

Are you tired of regular picross? Is having only one type of clue getting a little too easy? Try a version with dozens of different styles of clues, all at once.


BRAINCROSS

Android
itch.io

Still not TUFF E NUFF? Try one where the hints barely even make sense!


Both by the same developer and both are completely insane.

9 Likes

Wow, the tutorial on that PIXOJI is the best I’ve ever seen for a puzzle game. I gotta save it for that

Assuming the game doesn’t want the player to discover the rules through play.

you can always logic your way through picross, and I never guessed in picross DS. I did use that “Try It Out” mode a few times and consider it essential on Picross DS’s hardest puzzles. Once you reduce square placement to only a few possibilities, you want to switch to try it out mode and choose one of the possibilities to test out. Usually you’ll find that you made an error after a minute or so and can scratch that possibility off the list.

Ah, so you won’t know until you’re deep into it. That’s the ledge I did not step onto.

Eventually you get pretty good at intuiting or making all of those moves in your head so you won’t need try it out mode at that point but until then its the equivalent of trying an answer out on scratch paper and finding that it doesn’t work.

1 Like

Currently plucking away at Picross e7, it is a pretty swell version of it.

I played through Illust Logic + Colorful Logic within the past year and it is… alright. Color Picross is swell enough but on average they just give you a bit too much information. That sounds backwards but for most puzzles I never felt even close to stuck or even slowed down.

I picked up Pic-a-Pix Color on sale some time back, it felt slightly janky but hopefully it’ll have some solid color puzzles.

What’s the best ePicross to get? The latest one?

I think the Jupiter-developed Nintendo Picross games often say in their tutorials that there is no need for guesswork; is that due to the design of the individual puzzles or the nature of nonograms themselves?

This has nothing to do with puzzling, but I think a strength of both Picross DS and Picross 3D is their liveliness: Picross DS’ animated solutions were really charming—I deeply feel their absence in Picross E games and Picross S—and Picross 3D’s weird music and art gave the game a real exuberance that the 3DS sequel completely abandoned.

2 Likes