Pokémon Picross (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Luna Eriksson 07.01.2016 1

Review for Pokémon Picross on Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo's latest take on the popular Japanese picture puzzles hits western shores with Pokémon Picross's release. It is a creative take on the classic formula, adding the adorable Pocket Monsters into the mix to add a strategic element and the possibility to help newcomers with nonogram solving. Will it help in breeding a new generation of Picross players? Read on for the answer!

The classic logical picture puzzles from Japan get a twist with Nintendo's newest take on the genre, Pokémon Picross. While at first glance the puzzles might seem to be a simple task of just filling in boxes, solvers will soon realize that this is simply not the case. There is a lot more to these nonograms than what first meets the eye, being free to play might make the younger generation give it a chance, and adding Pokémon is sure to catch their attention!

However, are the Pokémon just there to draw people into the Picross scene, or do they add to the game experience? The answer is that they do! Nintendo did wonderful work finding a way to incorporate their Pocket Monsters into the gameplay in a natural and creative way to not make it feel just like "Picross with Pokémon pictures", which in itself would have been a fully acceptable free to play product, but they went out of their way to give the Pokémon several abilities that can help the player solve the puzzles.

Some Pokémon can help by solving boxes on the field, while others help by stopping the time, auto-correcting mistakes, or other neat features to make the Picross solving easier. All of this is, of course, fully optional, which should be appreciated by those who desire a more traditional approach. The powers have a cost too. The more powerful the Pokémon's ability is, the longer cooldown it will have. At first, this might seem like it's nothing to worry too much about, as the player's energy has a timer as well, making them coincide pretty well. However, some Pokémon with especially powerful abilities found later on have a massive cooldown of one day and upwards, making it a real question whether or not they should be taken on the quest. This balances out the game and makes each and every Pokémon still feel relevant even when stronger ones are found.

Screenshot for Pokémon Picross on Nintendo 3DS

The difficulty of the puzzles are also an important aspect of Picross. While it would be devastating if the puzzles were too hard to scare away newcomers, there must still be challenge to keep veterans excited. Luckily, Nintendo has found a wonderful middle ground in Pokémon Picross. Most main story puzzles are very simple to solve, but there are plenty of optional puzzles that offer challenges that even veterans might find themselves thinking over. To further add optional challenges, each puzzle has optional objectives to be solved for people who want to really put themselves to the test.

As Pokémon Picross is a free to play game, it is pre-destined to have some sort of optional purchase system included in the package. Yes, there is a classical gem system that is typical to the free to play market incorporated into this title. Things that have to be bought with these gems are access to new zones with new puzzles, party slots, and energy, among other things. Some free gems are given out each day for using the training feature and completing the challenges of each stage, as well as for some achievements. While locking things up behind waiting or pay gates is one of the bad things about free to play models, players should never feel cheated in Pokémon Picross. There is a money cap that is reached at around 30 euros, at which point the game becomes completely free of the gems, which is a very fair price for the massive amount content given.

It goes without saying that Pokémon Picross succeeded with adding a perfect balance between traditional Picross solving and creative implementation of Pokémon, as well as between accessibility and respect towards veterans. It is a wonderful approach to the genre, and with the free to play model and a fair payment roof, it might help to further spread nonograms in the west, and most importantly, towards a younger audience!

Screenshot for Pokémon Picross on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Pokémon Picross succeeds flawlessly with its goal of making an easily accessible Picross title with additional appeal for people who are used to the puzzles. Optional stages and challenges are sure to keep veterans on their toes, while newcomers can be perfectly happy with the main puzzles that will keep their minds stimulated without being too difficult. Nintendo even succeeded to implement Pokémon into the game in a natural way, as more than just pictures. This, mixed with a fair roof on the optional purchases, makes Pokémon Picross a wonderful game to play, no matter the desired play style or former experience with the puzzles. It's a title that is recommended for everyone with a 3DS to try out!


Jupiter Corp







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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   


I'm a fan of Hanjie (or Picross as it appears to be called here?) and it's nice to be able to do them on the 3DS. I'm not 100% sold on the pokemon implementation and reward system though.
Still, it is free. 

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