Picross S (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Az Elias 29.01.2018

Review for Picross S on Nintendo Switch

Since 2011, Jupiter has been gifting the Nintendo 3DS with Picross e entries; picture crossword puzzle games that ask players to fill in tiles on a grid to produce an illustration at the end. Perfectly matched to the portable nature of the console, they continue to garner plenty of fans that love to solve puzzles whenever a spare few minutes rolls around. Of course, the hot success story that is the Nintendo Switch means a brand-new title for it makes total sense - and that comes in the form of Picross S.

Newcomers are eased into the world of Picross steadily in this first Switch entry, with carefully explained tutorials and very simple starting puzzles for the two modes on offer: Picross and Mega Picross. Grids of various sizes display numbers at the left and top of each row and column, indicating how many tiles must be filled in. Fill all of the correct ones in to solve the puzzle and reveal a picture that the tiles make up. The bigger the grid, the more difficult the solution - but through concentration and perseverance, each can be completed with effort. Mega Picross differs in that some numbers will span two adjacent rows/columns, showing that these tiles are linked together, adding another layer of complexity to the standard formula.

Anyone finding the going getting tough can use a range of helpful options to succeed. These include letting the game fill in one row and column at the start of the puzzle, highlighting correctly-filled rows (or incorrectly-filled ones, if preferred), auto-correcting mistakes, and even activating a one-time mistake check for the current puzzle. These can all be switched on or off, whilst a badge indicating a grid was cleared without the use of assists will display if completed this way. Puzzles can even be paused mid-session and returned to later. There is plenty of choice here for all types of players.

Screenshot for Picross S on Nintendo Switch

An interesting feature is the ability to play co-operatively in a two-player mode. With different colours filling in the tiles, two friends can work together to solve each puzzle, but a competitive edge is added by way of showing just how many tiles have been correctly found by each player. Good communication is in order for puzzles to be solved this way, and while it doesn't really add much to the game as a whole, it is a welcome feature that brings Picross into a slightly new realm. It may not get used much, but perhaps the multiplayer focus of the Switch itself and the fact every system comes with two controllers forced the hand a little.

150 puzzles each to complete in both Picross and Mega Picross modes, making for a total of 300, and there's clearly great value for money here when taking into account the £7.19 asking price. After so many releases over the past few years, though - predominantly on 3DS - is this Switch edition just a little too much on the lacking side?

Screenshot for Picross S on Nintendo Switch

It does feel that way, as whilst 300 puzzles is a hefty sum to work through, the Mega Picross solutions are essentially the same illustrations as the ones in the normal Picross mode. It suggests each Picross puzzle was simply adjusted into Mega format instead of having all original creations made. Some of the resulting pictures are pretty questionable, too, where it can be a bit of a stretch to see how an image has been formed out of the finished grid of tiles. The illustrations aren't the real appeal of a Picross game, but some of the revealed images can raise an eyebrow or two at times.

The absence of touch controls is probably the most unfortunate complaint to level at Picross S. With the move from the 3DS' resistive display to the capacitive touch screen of the Switch, it seems this may have been a factor in why touch controls don't exist in this version. For sure, it would be difficult to hit the tiny tiles accurately in the larger puzzles with a finger, and players would have to go out of their way to purchase an effective touch pen that wouldn't damage the Switch screen if touch controls were implemented, but it is a shame all the same, as they worked so well on the 3DS, allowing the user to slide their stylus effortlessly over multiple tiles and tap immediately anywhere to fill them in.

Screenshot for Picross S on Nintendo Switch

With this edition, it falls upon the D-pad and face buttons to get the job done. They work absolutely fine, and cursor speed can be adjusted to sort of compensate for the slightly slower interaction. Not a huge issue, but one that seems to have occurred due the alternate display type Nintendo went with for this system.

There also doesn't seem to be any punishment for messing up, even when not using any assists, which is a little strange. In 3DS Picross titles, seconds were added to the time taken to finish the puzzle, and if the clock reached 60 minutes, it was game over for that particular grid. Here, there is no penalisation, although it does mean that if not using assists, there is no giveaway of whether you have placed a correct tile or not until the puzzle is completed successfully. It is also kind of reassuring to not have the pressure of a time limit. The time to finish is recorded, but at least there is freedom to take the time needed.

Screenshot for Picross S on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


Picross S is a fully recommended title for anyone who doesn't own a Nintendo 3DS after some puzzling action to play on the go, which is the preferred way to play this type of game. Whilst lacking the superior touch controls of the 3DS versions, this one does add an array of great assist options and throws a multiplayer twist into the format. Compared to what the long-running Picross e games provide, though, offering just two modes and Mega Picross being slightly adjusted Picross puzzles is unfortunate. For the budget price, 300 puzzles is excellent value, especially if this is one of your first dabbles into the series, but there is no question that more could have been added here. If you have a 3DS, it would be better to stick to the Picross fun on that system.


Jupiter Corp







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

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   


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