Picross 3D (Hands-On) (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 29.07.2009

Review for Picross 3D (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

There have been many contenders to the Picross throne on the DS thanks to the touch screen being the perfect tool for working through the taxing Picture Crossword puzzles. Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles, Colour Cross and even More Brain Training have all proven to be very impressive takes on the popular craze. However, nothing can currently touch Nintendo's own Picross DS from June 2007. Yet there could be one game about to turn the genre on its head, and that game is none other than HAL Laboratories' Picross 3D.

The standard gameplay mechanic of Picross comes down to looking at various numbers strewn along the left and top sides of grids of varying size, using the digits as a clue to how many squares need to be coloured in or crossed out. Upon colouring in all the required boxes, a picture is revealed. That is really how basic the premise is for these 'Picture Crossword' puzzles. However, when grids reach 15x15 or larger, trying to figure out which squares are to be shaded in becomes a far trickier task as there will be many circumstances where the correct choices will not become apparent until other areas of the grid have either already been coloured or discounted.

For 3D Picross the idea is much the same, except a third axis is factored into the equation. Players are faced with a three-dimensional grid that has numbers not only running along the top and side, as normal, but also ones indicating how many need to be coloured inside the on-screen block. In order to make this situation workable, HAL lets players rotate the whole 3D shape and has introduced the idea of breaking blocks that definitely should not be coloured in, meaning you can then use the stylus to carefully tap squares inside the large block in order to colour them appropriately. Normally on a grid there will be some '0's (zeros), indicating that nothing in that particular row needs to be coloured in and can therefore be broken using the little hammer tool accessed with a D-Pad and touch screen combo.

Screenshot for Picross 3D (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

The demo shown at E3 really didn't effectively demonstrate just how addictive the game can get, just as the original Picross DS did when it ate into people's lives considerably. Instead, the demo merely took players through a couple of basic tutorials, making the game seem ridiculously easy and rather boring to boot. However, from Cubed3's extensive play-time with the Japanese edition (easily accessible due to the lack of text), it can be confirmed that the game is anything but boringly simple. The variety of cube clusters on offer grow in complexity further into the game, introducing numbers with circles on, as well as the standard numbering system. These circled numbers show how many mini cubes need to be coloured in on that particular row, column, and so on, except that this time the number of coloured blocks will have a space between them. As an example, imagine there is a circled number four on a row of five blocks - this means either three and one needed marking, or perhaps even two and two. It's important to remember that a space is required between coloured blocks this time, so be prepared to use that hammer!

Once all of the standard puzzles have been worked through, each and every picture has been uncovered, and all your previous best times have been beaten (avoiding time penalties by not making any mistakes during each stage, for instance), that is by no means the end of the game as Nintendo and HAL are also offering up a wealth of new puzzles to work that brain matter even further. So, all-in-all, Picross 3D not only delivers a brand new twist on the original formula and succeeds perfectly in its execution, but it also offers more than enough content to keep most veteran puzzle fans satisfied.

Screenshot for Picross 3D (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

Picross on the DS is still hailed as being one of the most complete puzzle packages on the system so far. Now, two years on from its release, Nintendo's 2nd Party developer, HAL, has crafted a fantastic new take on the game's core concept, adding positively to the already highly impressive formula and offering up a wealth of content to keep all gamers happy. Picross 3D is definitely one to watch for 2009!


HAL Laboratory







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Such a shame the demo for this was poor at the post-E3 show...glad you've been able to give it a proper go though for this! Nice one.

'Tis indeed a shame as it really won't have given much of an impression to players. As a big fan of standard Picross, I approached this new take with caution...yet was totally bowled over by how impressive it really is. HAL has done a fantastic job of transferring the idea into the realm of 3D.

Once ahain, though, it seems C3 readers aren't enamoured with Picross games. The lack of comments / interest was noted when reviewing Colour Cross and Challenge Me as well. Shame really...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I love it and hate it at the same time!
It could be annoying yet fun at the same

I..I can't watch porn. My Mommy finds out

Smilie Very true - there are indeed some puzzles that will drive you nuts, but you just can't help but come back to them after a short break. It has the pick-up-and-play quality, addictiveness and level of frustration that keeps you coming back for just one...more...go! Smilie

It's been a bit of a sleeper hit over in Japan, gradually accruing strong sales and I'm hoping NoA and NoE give it the push in the West that it deserves Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses


Comments are currently disabled

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Sandy Wilson

There are 1 members online at the moment.