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Picross e (3DS eShop) Review

Review for Picross e on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Fans and enthusiasts that fall under the 'gamer' bracket would be all too aware of one of the gaming Industry's most unfortunate software traits, the dreaded region lock. Coming from the freedom that the DS offered to the 3DS' complete lockdown was a bitter pill for many to swallow, not helped by the fact that the online purchases store itself was also restricted on a regional basis; though when looking at translational and rating requirements, this isn't too much of a surprise. One highly sought-after title in particular that Westerners have had quite a wait for is Picross e (over a year since the Japanese release, in fact), with only the Game Boy version of Mario's Picross to help pass the time with. Is Picross e worthy of the wait, or is this puzzle best left unsolved?

Picross e follows the traditional Picross rules, helped by one of the best tutorial sections seen in the series yet. To sum it up briefly, there is a grid of squares on the touch screen, either a 5 by 5, 10 by 10, or 15 by 15 set, and using the number clues along the side certain squares must be filled in to ultimately form a picture with the end result. It sounds simplistic in words, but when push comes to shove, the harder puzzles can have brains pulsing like nothing else.

Picross e acts as a great starting point for new players to jump into, mainly because of the aforementioned tutorial sections that gently ease players in to the rules, but also for the intuitive touch controls that make highlighting squares quicker and easier than ever. Button control remains for the traditionalists, but the stylus is better as not needing to zoom in and easily tapping on any squares is a huge benefit to the Picross mechanics.

Screenshot for Picross e on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Another aspect that greatly helps newcomers is the Hints System. Before a puzzle starts in either the Easy or Normal categories, it can be chosen whether or not to allow the system to fill in one row of blocks automatically, acting as a stronger starting point than the clear grid would have otherwise been. Not only that, but the game informs players if a block has been placed in the wrong position, though doing so does occur a time penalty; in itself not a bad thing if you don't mind not getting a coloured picture at the end. Both these features can thankfully be switched off for more experienced players; they are merely to help others get a foot in the door, so to speak.

Due to the heavier emphasis on the touch screen, the top 3D screen does get relegated to a level of near-uselessness, with a three-dimensional portrait of the picture unearthed thus far, but not much else. It is unfortunate, yet as many other games have proven, there is no need to make extensive use of every hardware feature to make a great title.

Screenshot for Picross e on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Presentation as a whole in Picross e is rather basic, with menus and blocks being the main eye-candy but it all ties together nicely. The music is one of those rare beasts, in that there isn't a huge variety of tracks, and very few are really memorable, but they blend into the background of the puzzles so well that probably it won't even be noticeable once the mind is put to work on the grids. The game, however, does make effective use of other aspects of the 3DS hardware.

The Sleep function is self-explanatory, and a Godsend for quick play sessions, though the game does support a full suspend feature for when needing to turn off the 3DS unit or play another game. The portable nature of the 3DS and Picross e's downloadable nature are both huge pluses in this regard, too.

Screenshot for Picross e on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

From a quick glance, Picross e looks to be one of the more limited games in the series in a longevity sense, especially compared to Jupiter's Picross DS and HAL's Picross 3D although, as many experienced players can attest to, the more difficult puzzles later on can befuddle the strongest of minds and give many more hours of play than what was originally expected. Easy Mode's 15 puzzles are quickly dealt with, and Normal Mode probably won't be too taxing either, but it will be the Free and Extra Mode brainteasers that will throw players for a loop, as they don't allow the Hint systems at all, and will undoubtedly take the longest to tackle. Picross e doesn't support multiplayer either online or off, which is a shame, and the lack of any possible downloadable content may put off gamers looking for a lasting challenge, but for £4.50 it is very difficult to argue the value of what included here, regardless of Picross experience.

Screenshot for Picross e on 3DS eShop- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Easy, brief, and friendly for those new to the Picross staple. The touch screen adds a whole new layer of quick-fire intuitiveness to the puzzle solving, and the downloadable nature of the game makes it ideal for a quick pick-up-and-play session.


By no means a showcase for the system, although for a game of this type it wasn't ever expected to be. By-and-large clean and clear visuals, unobtrusive menus and helpful tutorial scripts.


Relatively forgetful music that blends in seamlessly and never acts as a distraction. Not a huge amount of tracks on hand, but enough to stop things getting too repetitive.


Lack of downloadable content and multiplayer support is a downer at first, but for the solo enthusiast there is a lot of puzzling for your buck, far more so than what first appears.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Picross e is the ideal game for series newcomers to jump into, helped greatly by its always-at-hand downloaded nature, suspend features, and intuitive control schemes. No extra puzzles to download in the future may make this game's lifespan more limited for most, but for what there is, £4.50 is a steal. Jupiter has successfully managed to provide a sterling new experience to follow on from Picross DS.

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European release date Out now   North America release date None   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I loved Picross DS by Jupiter so much, and given this positive review, I just got myself a copy of it! Smilie

I also loved Picross 3D on DS - very impressive game Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Picross is probably my favorite kind of puzzle!

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Is there a v2.0 in Japan?

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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