You versus the Block.
You have one minute left. You quickly use slicers, some squared and circled numbers to keep or remove cubes. Now only 30 seconds remain, and there are still 5 cubes left. You think of breaking the two inner cubes, but you might risk getting a strike, which would ruin your attempt at obtaining a perfect score, so what do you do? Your patience wanes, your anxiety builds... but who am I kidding? There is always the restart button.
[image1]When I was first given Picross 3D to review, little did I know that I would be up at 1:42 in the morning on a Saturday night, cussing at my DS, trying to solve a similar problem described above—though I swear I did not use the restart button. However, I should have been aware that its predecessor, Picross DS, also possessed highly-addictive, time-stealing side effects.
From the start, you’re introduced to the tutorial, where you will learn the basics, rules, and controls, while also completing examples to help you become familiar with the gameplay. Make sure to digest each instruction carefully; otherwise, you cannot return to the previous screen unless you restart the tutorial.
As you progress, more levels, techniques, and puzzles with a higher difficulty become accessible. The puzzles involve hidden structures which are enclosed by a block of breakable cubes. Using the surrounding numerical cues, your objective is to strategically chip away at the cubes—with your stylus and not a chisel, by the way—to reveal a shape, which can be anything from letters to animals, fruit, and even a skateboarder. Not only will you have to scrutinize each cube horizontally and vertically, you will also have to look at the block’s inner cubes.
[image2]Puzzles range in difficulty, depending on the variation of numbers and the size of the cube. There won’t be any hints or clues if you’re stuck, but it does give you the option to do a quick save so you can shut off the DS, go outside and scream out of frustration, come back, and return to the puzzle you’ve been working on. You will find a variation of numbers marked on specific cubes that will guide you on which one to keep or remove. Some of these numbers require you to highlight cubes that are in two or more groups instead of one continuous group.
Sounds complicated, but there are tools to help you. Slicers allow you to see the block’s inner cubes and you’re able to mark or remove each one without affecting the other overlapping cubes. The stylus gives you complete control over viewing the block by rotating it side to side and top to bottom. Providing the option to rotate the block allows more of a challenge since there is already so much going on. It’s an extra edge that puzzle fanatics will enjoy. Furthermore, the stylus is responsive and accurate enough to smash away specific cubes without touching others.
If you have greasy fingers, though, and you slip and smash the wrong cube, you’re given a strike. Obtain five strikes and game over. Adding more pressure, a time limit is given and if you do not accomplish uncovering the image within the allotted time, you lose the chance to earn a star. Thankfully, you do not need to achieve a perfect score on each puzzle to move forward to the next level, but you will need perfect scores if you’re striving to unlock everything the game has to offer.
[image3]One of the many features you can unlock is different animations. For every puzzle you solve, the shape is placed into a theme where you can rotate the image as well as having a zoom option. But whereas most gifts take months before they become boring, it will only take you a matter of seconds before you become bored watching the animations. Thankfully, more puzzles are unlocked, which means much more entertainment.
While the unlocked content may prove to be a useless feature, it does not curtail the large assortment of puzzles that the game has. The gameplay will keep players interested with more levels, convenient tools, and puzzles that can be replayed repeatedly over time. If brainteaser addicts are looking for a game that will pacify their logic fix, Picross 3D is more than a suitable solution that will have fans coming back for more.