Update: This is a repost of a blog entry from 2010 called “Picross 3D,” but I’ve added links to mobile apps and more.
I’m looking forward to the new Picross 3D for the Nintendo DS, which comes out in a few weeks. I think Picross-like puzzle mechanics are underappreciated. It’s the dumbing down problem: swap-2/match-3 jewel games are instantly understandable, but a mechanic like Picross (or Picross 3D) takes a bit to understand. Then again, Sudoku took off like wildfire a few years back, so I’m hopeful.
Picross puzzles are also known as Nonograms, as well as about 50 other names (Hanjie, Griddlers, etc.). From Wikipedia:
“[They] are picture logic puzzles in which cells in a grid must be colored or left blank according to numbers at the side of the grid to reveal a hidden picture. In this puzzle type, the numbers are a form of discrete tomography that measures how many unbroken lines of filled-in squares there are in any given row or column. For example, a clue of ‘4 8 3’ would mean there are sets of four, eight, and three filled squares, in that order, with at least one blank square between successive groups.”
Here are some other Picross games worth a look.
- Picross DS. Great game, with downloadable content. I reviewed this game when it came out.
- Color Cross for the DS. Another DS title. Not as polished.
- Gemsweeper by Lobstersoft, for Windows. As I mentioned in my review, it’s almost too casual. I spoke with the developer about this and it’s related to what I said above, how to get people into the mechanic without confusing them. This game would be perfect for me if the difficulty ramped up a wee bit faster. Lobstersoft also has a number of off-the-beaten path titles that are worth checking out.
- Picross Madness for iOS. A mere 99 cents, no ads, and periodic updates with more puzzles, currently over 600. There a version of Picross Madness for Android as well which is free, but it has some issues.
- Mario’s Picross in the eShop for 3DS. Originally for Gameboy.
- Picross e for the 3DS. $5.99. E is for Easier and I am not a fan. 150 puzzles.
- Picross e2 for the 3DS. Why have DLC add-on puzzles when you can release a whole new game? For another $5.99. 150 puzzles. Picross e2 does add some new gameplay in a Micross mode.
- Picross e3 for 3DS. Sense a pattern? Pony up another $5.99. This includes an all-new mode, “Mega Picross,” which has “Mega Numbers,” numbers which span two rows. #Innovation. 150 puzzles
- Picross e4 for 3DS. Feel free to check back directly with Nintendo/Jupiter for more of these as I’m not going to check anymore. Another $5.99. This one gives you special puzzles if you have the save game of the previous games in the series. 150 puzzles plus specials.
- Everybody’s Picross. This has a decent tutorial and contains 30 levels to get a feel for the game.
- Picross Magic. Whatever. it’s a Picross game.
- Picross Quest. I mean, it’s another Picross game.
- Puzzle-nonograms.com. Super basic version with a metric ton of ads. But it’s in HTML and doesn’t require flash.
- There are a ton of nongram/picross games on Kongregate (see here, here, here and here, but most are pretty awful (garish colors, etc) but the last 2 links aren’t bad.