To be honest, I’ve been pretty stressed out lately. Dungeon-raiding day in and day out takes a toll on your nerves. So instead of talking about games that are plot-heavy, or full of different mechanics, or designed to test your patience, I’m going to talk about relaxing puzzles. If you’ve ever gotten into sudoku, or worked on newspaper puzzles in a cafe in an attempt to look quirky yet intelligent (not that I know anything about that) this one’s for you.
Picross has had a long history on the Game Boy, but I have yet to get in on the craze until Nintendo insisted that I try its latest free-to-play creation, Pokémon Picross for the Nintendo 3DS. Free-to-play games usually get a severe side-eye from gamers, most of it entirely justified.
However, I’ve yet to be burned on a Nintendo free-to-play, since they tend to do the whole microtransactions thing very well: unobtrusively and optionally.
Pokémon Picross is a “picture crossword” game, where you fill in squares according to clues to make a picture. The in-game tutorial does a fairly decent job of explaining the rules to newbies, but it took me many puzzles to get the hang of some of the more advanced strategies. When you complete a puzzle, you catch the Pokémon that was revealed. Soon you’ll have a full roster of the little guys, each with their own special ability to help you solve more difficult puzzles.
The game is free-to-play, with an in-game currency called “picrites”. You gain small amounts of picrites from playing a daily puzzle challenge, or from completing puzzles, so you’ll end up experiencing the whole game for free if you have the patience. If you don’t want to bother with all that, the full game is $30, with all the bells and whistles. You really can’t pay more than $30, so that’s a nice touch compared to most money-hungry free-to-play games.
The 20th anniversary of the series is next week! What are you waiting for? At the very least, pick up your 3DS and start filling in cute, calming picture squares.
Gotta solve ‘em all!
-The Dungeon Dame
-The Dungeon Dame