Picross S2 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Lilly K. 04.06.2019

Review for Picross S2 on Nintendo Switch

Developed by Jupiter, Picross S2 is the second game in a series of picross titles. It was released in August 2018 in the EU, the US, and Japan. Founded in 1992, Jupiter has been developing games and software for quite a few years. Not unsurprisingly, their list of releases heavily features a number of different picross games for different Nintendo systems. Especially the Nintendo DS, DSi and 3DS had several different picross titles. While some of them had to be purchased, there was also the possibility of acquiring the free-to-play Pokemon Picross. Regardless of the system, the picross rules stay the same. A grid with numbers at the end of each row and column indicate how many fields have to be filled in in the corresponding row or column. The player has to logically deduct which fields to fill according to the numbers. When one grid has been successfully solved, the player is rewarded with a picture. That is the simple formula, and it seems that it continues to work.

Picross S2 is a simple picross game. Next to the normal mode it also offers 'Mega picross' and 'Clip picross,' perhaps in an attempt to spice up what would eventually get a little dull. For newcomers, a tutorial is offered for each mode, which can also be skipped if the player is familiar with the gameplay - but what do the different modes offer? First of all, the normal picross mode offers a number of picross grids to solve.

This is the traditional way of playing picross, with numbers corresponding to only one cell or row. Every puzzle is available right away, which means there is no need to solve certain puzzles to unlock others. That makes for an almost disappointing gameplay. While each puzzle creates a picture, it would have been nice to get the satisfaction of unlocking further puzzles by solving others. That way, it would feel more rewarding to complete a puzzle.

Additionally, none of the puzzles offer an indication of the difficulty level. While the player can see the grid size before selecting a puzzle to play, this usually gives little indication of the difficulty of certain levels. It would have been nice to solve easy puzzles to unlock harder ones, and to get an indication of how difficult a puzzle was. That way, players can feel good about themselves after solving a difficult puzzle. Sadly, none of this is seen in here.

Screenshot for Picross S2 on Nintendo Switch

Another mode that is offered is Mega picross. Despite of the sound, 'Mega' does not refer to grid size, but to the type of game. In this mode, corresponding numbers can belong to one or two cells/rows, making it a little bit more difficult to solve a puzzle. However, like in the traditional mode, there is no indication of the level of difficulty, and every puzzle is available from the start. As mentioned before, a more interesting gameplay would be if puzzles had to be unlocked.

Finally, the last mode is Clip picross. In this one, different picross grids have to be solved individually to form a large picture when put together. For this mode it finally needs some unlocking, as the different grids can only be unlocked by playing the traditional mode. While it was refreshing to finally have to unlock something, it was surprisingly unsatisfactory, since the unlocking process is surprisingly dull.

It is unclear which of the traditional puzzles unlock a clip picross piece, and when it does, it is completely randomised. In other words, it feels too simple. The player has to play through the whole traditional mode, which can turn to become rather dull, in order to then solve the clip picross grids. These are nothing special either: just another picross grid, without any indication of level difficulty -and while they are part of a bigger picture, the individual parts are not made up to actually fit together, but are rather parts of the large image. In that sense, in was surprisingly unsatisfying to actually solve the different parts.

Screenshot for Picross S2 on Nintendo Switch

If a player does not want to play alone, this actually offers to play with another person. Simply take the joy-con controllers out, hand one to your friend and play together, which means solving a grid together. Each player has a different colour, indicating which player activated which square. Additionally, each filled in square is counted, in case players want to compare who filled in most squares in the end. While this is a nice idea, it seems a little pointless. Players are most likely getting into each other's way, and picross seems to be one of the most single-player ideas around.

The controls for the game are very simple and effective. Press 'A' to fill in a square, 'B' to cross it out, and press 'A' or 'B' to delete anything put in the square. Moving around the grid is done with the d-pad. That makes the controls very comfortable to use, and improves the gameplay experience. While the way controls work can be changed in the settings, it is not possible to use the touchpad. This may throw some players off at first, but turns out to be a smart move. Using the buttons makes for a very fast and simple gameplay experience.

Screenshot for Picross S2 on Nintendo Switch

What will happen if the player gets stuck? There are a couple of ways to help a player out. Firstly, a setting called 'Hint Roulette' can be activated when starting a puzzle. This will randomly fill in one row and one cell, creating a starting point for the player. However, even with this help, it is still possible to make mistakes. Yes, it's also possible to check those. The problem is, that while it shows the mistakes, the player is required to memorize where the mistakes are.

This system does not allow the player to correct mistakes while they are being shown. Instead, if the player wants to correct anything, he or she is required to remember which fields were incorrectly filled or not filled. This can obviously get very difficult in a 15x15 grid. Furthermore, it is only possible to activate the mistake check once per puzzle playthrough. This seems a bit strict, considering that if a player already needs help, it would not really make a difference to be able to use the help feature more than just once. Finally, the gameplay seems a bit limited compared to its current price. While it is without question an enjoyable game, it would definitely benefit from more diversity or a cheaper price.

Screenshot for Picross S2 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Picross S2 is a relaxing game that offers some variety in its gameplay to stay interesting enough. It is surprisingly addictive, yet it also lacks some features that could improve its levels of variety. Its price currently seems a little too high for what is offered.

Developer

Jupiter Corp

Publisher

Jupiter

Genre

Puzzle

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (1 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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