Surprise! It’s another Picross! This time, Nintendo announced and launched Picross 3D Round 2 on the 3DS immediately after its most recent Nintendo Direct presentation. The title is a download only offering, and it checks in at $29.99.
30 bucks. Yep, that’s hefty. The game is almost perfectly made, however, and it offers well over 300 puzzles by my count. If you like puzzle games, this is among the very best.
Think of it sort of like 3D Sudoku meets Minesweeper. You tap away blocks that you don’t need, paint some blue and others orange. All of that is based on the hints that you get in number form on the side of the blocks themselves. When you’re done, you’ll reveal a recognizable form or shape that might vary from something as simple as a frog to a tiny version of the Solar System
There’s an easy tutorial section at the start of the game that’ll get you up and running in no time. As you progress, you’ll unlock small tutorials that will offer more advanced techniques. The puzzle solving of Picross 3D isn’t so much intense as it is slow and steady. It’s a challenging game, but it arrives with a really nice sense of calm and pace. The soundtrack, which either plays in default fashion or lets you pick whichever built in song you want, adds to that zen-like experience, too.
My complaints? This game makes it so that you have to paint blocks orange or blue, that’s a new mechanic. I like it, actually. It makes the play more complicated and rewarding, while not really making the puzzle aspects unfair. It’s a balanced approach to making Picross more diverse for those who’ve sunk hours and hours into other titles in the series.
The problem comes from the control system. In this game, you’re looking to solve the puzzles while setting high scores and earning unique gems. The scores are set by puzzle difficulty, time spent solving and, perhaps most importantly, mistakes made. Each mistake, like demolishing the wrong block or painting orange when you should have painted blue, results in a strike. Too many strikes won’t fail the level, but they will reduce your score to practically nothing.
You’ll paint and tap away blocks with the stylus while holding either the d-pad in a specific direction or one of the face buttons with your opposite hand (yes, right and left-handed folks are welcome here). Over the hours and hours I played, I found myself getting strikes frequently not because I was incorrectly solving a puzzle, but because my hand slipped or I tapped orange when I should have tapped blue.
The cramped nature of color selection an too subtle choice notification makes making mistakes far too easy for a puzzle game that so generously rewards perfection. It’s annoying, for sure, but it’s not enough to ruin the game.
The music, the act of solving puzzles to reveal unique shapes, the variety of puzzles and the sheer volume of the content on display all more than make up for the control scheme. However, were that control scheme better, this game would be absolutely perfect.
The amiibo functionality here is pretty nice, too. Not all amiibo are supported, though you can head to Nintendo’s officially amiibo Compatibility Chart and see if the ones you have will work with the game. The amiibo supported are essentially the core characters from the Mario , Zelda and Kirby families.
You’ll tap an amiibo that works and unlock a challenging 3D puzzle. You can see what’s unlocked with the Link amiibo in the gallery above. In a game about puzzles, having amiibo support that literally unlocks even more puzzles is great.
If you’re looking for a new puzzle game to play on your Nintendo 3DS, check out Picross 3D Round 2. You don’t need experience with the previous titles in the series, and this one’s good enough to keep you satisfied for a long time.