Picross 3D: Round 2 (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Drew Hurley 21.12.2016

Review for Picross 3D: Round 2 on Nintendo 3DS

Picross has been a surprising hit of a series. These simple logic brainteasers are based on the old Japanese Hanjie puzzles, with the original title - Picross DS - being released almost a decade ago. This latest version returns to the 3D style, after a very positive response to the first iteration - with over 300 new conundrums and the signature addictive gameplay back in full force. Cubed3 is here to tell you why you won't be able to put this one down!

In the West, Hanjie puzzles are an occasional addition in the newspaper pages besides Sudoku, but sadly beyond that, they don't have much of a presence here (check out WHSmith, though, Picross fans, as there is a monthly magazine). When the original Picross launched on DS 2007, there certainly wasn't an audience of Hanjie players eager to get their hands on the title. Thankfully, the simple rules and addictive nature of the experience drummed it up a solid following.

Screenshot for Picross 3D: Round 2 on Nintendo 3DS

With the DS evolving into the 3DS, so did Picross, with it jumping from two dimensions to three in Picross 3D in 2010. With an audience now there for this picture planning puzzler, the new version went down very well indeed, successfully adding a new dimension to the gameplay by making 3D block puzzles that needed to be solved inside and out.

Picross players have had to wait a while for this to hit Europe, with it being released September last year in the States and the year before in Japan. They at least had plenty to keep them going since 2010, with tie-in titles like Pokemon Picross and My Nintendo Picross - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, but for those craving the next instalment in the series, it's finally here. For those who have never played a Picross title, or even a Hanjie puzzle, the mechanics are basic enough to pick up, but when scaled up, they can craft complex and challenging stages.

Screenshot for Picross 3D: Round 2 on Nintendo 3DS

Each level gives a hidden model within a block of squares. The player's objective is to paint some of those squares and chip away at others to reveal the secret inside. The blank canvas at the beginning guides how to go about this by using numbers; for example, a row of ten blocks, with a number eight, shows that eight blocks in that row will be coloured. It's easy to establish the middle six blocks will be coloured, regardless of what other two blocks are to be coloured, and what two are to be removed. By continuing to solve these sorts of logical number puzzles, and using a process of elimination, the solutions naturally come together.

The puzzles grow further by adding two different colours, along with modifiers; for instance, circles around a blue number means there are that many blue blocks in the row but in two groups, and if it is squares around the number, then it is three groups. Combining these extra rules, along with larger and more complex puzzles, works very well, delivering an experience that hits all of the targets that games of this ilk aim for. It's simple, it's addictive, it requires some thought, and it makes the hours simply vanish.

Screenshot for Picross 3D: Round 2 on Nintendo 3DS

The controls also contribute to the simplicity of the gameplay. The stylus is used to both rotate around the model, use paint or the hammer upon blocks, while using the D-pad and shoulder button help to choose what tool to utilise. Nintendo has once again allowed developer Jupiter to leverage some recognisable properties here, too, understandably so after Zelda, Mario, and Pokémon editions were so well received in the past. Round 2 has over 300 stages to solve, from basic geometric shapes of flowers, fruit, and animals, through to characters in various poses. Not only that, but good ol' Ninty has added amiibo support and using some favourite Nintendo franchise characters unlocks new and more intricate teasers to crack. There are nine puzzles to unlock this way, each being a fun and challenging addition.

Although the amiibo add a little extra on top, sadly there is no further DLC or extra game modes included in this release, which is a real shame as games like Super Mario Maker show that time and again community-created content can be a big hit. Hopefully, it's something considered if there is ever a Picross 3D: Round 3.

Screenshot for Picross 3D: Round 2 on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Puzzle games definitely have a niche audience, but Nintendo and Jupiter have definitely found that audience on the 3DS. Its reputation as a platform for anyone and everyone has opened up the games to many more players. With Picross 3D: Round 2, there's nothing here to set the world on fire, but it's still an extremely solid, addictive, and enjoyable puzzle title that will keep players engaged for plenty of time and they will have lots of fun while doing so.


HAL Laboratory







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop


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