Combining two successful, but strikingly different cult franchises, Nintendo’s newest free-to-try 3DS game ends up a winner, but only if you have enough space in your gaming heart for both of them. Adding Pokemon to the Picross formula adds a much-needed layer of depth to the usual puzzle fare and with a ton to do and experience, it’s a free title that you’ll want to drop a handful of cash into. But again, that’s only if the challenging puzzle gameplay is your cup of tea.
Picross isn’t the easiest game to master, but what Pokemon Picross does exceptionally well is teach you the basics. The first handful of levels, in almost a perfect way, take the sometimes complex rules of the puzzle game and make them palatable for anyone. After about a half hour of gameplay, you’ll be ready to take on much more challenging levels, using the straight-ahead techniques you learned in the tutorial.
It also helps that the addition of Pokemon makes the game far more charming. While the pictures you’ll create are far from beautiful, more pixelated marvels than stunning portraits, the powers that the Pokemon to each level bring not only help you fill up your board, they add an added layer of strategy. Once you being to unlock more levels and gain access to more Pokemon, the game will become increasingly difficult, but also a lot more enjoyable.
But that’s where Pokemon Picross ultimately stumbles. It’s a difficult endeavor to get the average gamer past those first levels when you’re on your own, without any help from the computer. And while the game makes itself accessible to just about anyone through the tutorial, it’s not entirely suited for the 3DS. Some levels in the game are more than lengthy and may not be great in short bursts. As a result, it’s a game that isn’t for everyone.
Thankfully the free-to-play nature of the game will allow you to experiment for yourself without any real risk. With plenty to experience and the deepest Picross action on the 3DS, it’s far from a waste of time, but there are a handful of other puzzle games on the 3DS that won’t require you to think nearly as much.
Spending Caps: While you could spend a decent amount of money at Pokemon Picross, the game has a cool way of allowing you access to all of the content in the game.
A Ton of Content: You’ll want to immerse yourself in the game if you’re a fan of both licenses because there’s almost too much to do.
Steep Learning Curve: Pokemon Picross is tough and some levels can take you up to an hour if you’re not focused.
Not That Mobile-Friendly: You need to focus while playing this game and because of that it’s not an ideal game for a train or a bus ride.
In order to get the most out of Pokemon Picross, you have to appreciate both series. While it’s a free-to-play game, it’s an extensive puzzle experience designed specifically for those who want a challenge. If you don’t fall into either category, it’ll be hard to enjoy the game nearly as much as you could have otherwise.
A download code for Pokemon Picross was given to Examiner for review purposes.