It's unlikely that a puzzle game lover doesn't know Picross, as the Jupiter Corporation series has been hanging out on Nintendo's handheld platforms since the Game Boy era. The formula is always the one based on nonograms, that is the grids with the cells to be colored by interpreting the indications provided by the numbers at the side and at the top: by solving the puzzle correctly, a hidden image will appear on the structure.
As simple to learn as it is rewarding, especially with the most complex puzzles, Picross has experienced a particularly happy period thanks to the meeting with the handhelds of the Kyoto house equipped with a stylus, since this input method is perfectly combined with the mechanics game offer. It is no coincidence that for many fans Picross DS remains the best episode of the series, but also on the eShop of the 3DS there were seven chapters of the Picross series and which proposed an episodic solution at (more or less) regular cadence that recalled the publication of magazines like the Puzzle Week. The jump on Nintendo Switch was therefore expected by the niche of lovers with particular curiosity, given the substantial differences in the hardware capabilities of the new hybrid system, which could have offered potential to be exploited in an intriguing way. Unfortunately, however, the final result cannot be said to be fully successful.
Puzzle for two
Picross S arrives on the new Nintendo console also this time through digital delivery on the eShop, at the intriguing price of only € 7,99: an extremely low figure, probably destined to tease even those who have never got their hands on a previous episode. The feeling is that Jupiter Corporation itself wanted to understand this chapter as a sort of introduction to the concept for new players rather than offering content of particular interest to long-time fans. The reason for this assumption is substantially given by the particular structural simplicity of the Picross S offer, which could even be said to be poor from some points of view: you can only deal with normal picross or mega picross, for a total of 300 puzzles that in however, as we will see later, there are 150.
The learning curve is very soft: in addition to the extensive tutorial capable of accompanying novices by the hand explaining all the basic rules, the progression guarantees nonograms initially of reduced size and difficulty, with both that then grow progressively passing from 5x5 up to 20x15 . As if that were not enough, it is possible to activate a whole series of aids and suggestions in such a way as to simplify the experience, perhaps for the youngest or for those who do not have particular skills of patience. It is clear that in this case the meaning of the whole work is lost a little, but on the other hand, since all facilities are optional, one cannot complain too much. More criticizable is the fact that, unlike in the past, now coloring a wrong cell does not determine any time penalty: the result is that now trial and error is no longer hindered in any way, taking away a good portion of the sense of challenge. . What leaves another bitter taste in the mouth is the discovery of the fact that the Mega Picross, or more complicated variants of the basic formula in which the numbers go to suggest the cells to be colored by two adjacent rows instead of just one (it is much harder to explain than to understand), offer the same designs already present in normal picross. A choice that increases the feeling that Picross S was made with a certain laziness, in an all too cold and academic way, with the intention of packaging a product that is so competent but overall bland and without any particular inspiration. In this situation, there is only partial relief from the introduction of an unprecedented two-player mode, in which each user holds a Joy-Con trying to collaborate in the resolution of the same single nonogram. The presence of a score counter linked to the number of correctly colored cells gives the whole a balance between competition and collaboration that makes the final result at least pleasant. It should also be noted that it is not possible to interact with the puzzles via touch screen, limiting everything to only the crosses and buttons of the controllers. Finally, the aesthetic component, absolutely minimalist but clean and pleasant, goes well with the background music, succeeding in promoting concentration without giving any reason for distraction.
CommentDigital Delivery Nintendo eShop Price 7,99 € Resources4Gaming.com
Something more could be expected from Picross S, at least from the point of view of fans of the ultra-long-running Jupiter Corporation series. On the contrary, the Japanese house has evidently chosen to focus mainly on the potential audience of neophytes, giving life to a very basic episode in the structure and equipped with a whole series of tricks and options capable of simplifying - if desired - the solution of nonograms. . The result is a chapter that has little to offer veterans, but which in general appears a bit listless and lazy, despite the introduction of the new two-player mode.
- Always pleasant formula
- 300 new puzzles
- Simplifications that veterans won't like
- Mega Picross with recycled designs
- It gives the feeling of a somewhat listless development