My Picross Obsession

Today is the day! Today is PS5 day (or maybe PS5: Part II Day). PICROSS S5 is out on the Nintendo eShop today!

A few years ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to play Picross at my buddy’s house. It was the FREE Pokemon Picross for Nintendo DS and I got totally sucked in. I solved puzzle after puzzle before finally putting it down to go get pizzas (or some delicious food). After that I forgot about Picross altogether, for a few years.

Cut to July 2019: the day the Picross stars realigned for me. I had just watched a few episodes of the anime Overlord when Jupiter (developer/publisher of the Picross games) decided to drop an Overlord/Picross mashup game, Lord of Nazarick just at the right time. I bought it on the spot and beat it within a week.

I was doing my daily browse of the Nintendo eShop on my Switch to see if anything interesting had dropped. What I found was something familiar, Hey, that’s that anime I watched a few episodes of and that’s that puzzle game I played at my buddy’s house. All in one place? I was instantly hooked on Picross. It was nice to start off with a themed version, based on something semi-familiar, but I also didn’t really care about the whole crossover. I just wanted to solve puzzles. I skipped all of the dialogue as quickly as they’d allow me just to get to the next puzzle. It was nice to see art and imagery from Overlord in pixelated puzzle-form, along with some familiar characters — but also, I really didn’t care.

After quickly making my way through the themed Picross it was time to jump into some vanilla Picross — the S series. At the time, there were three games: Picross S, S2 and S3 and I believe I bought all three on sale at once. I spaced out my play time in each of these versions, because I knew I didn’t want to be done with all of the Picross games too soon (although I’m pretty sure Picross is easily repayable. I mean there’s no way I’m going to remember exactly how I solved any of those puzzles).

I quickly breezed through Picross S and S2, but I needed a break before S3. Not because I’d had enough, but because I wasn’t ready to be done with my Picross journey. I had a feeling that Jupiter wasn’t done creating these games, I just didn’t know when the next one would pop up. It came much sooner than I would have thought, and once Picross S4 came to the eShop I immediately started on S3.

I took my time and probably beat it in a month. After finishing S3, I once again hit the breaks. I didn’t even purchase Picross S4, after completing the S3. I just waited. That is until last week, when I received an email that not only was Picross S4 20% off, but S5 would be arriving today! Happy PS5 day (aka Picross S5 day) everyone! Last week, I purchased and started playing Picross S4 and I am now about 1/3 of the way through.

I’m not sure what it is about these games, but they are truly addicting (not in a bad way though). I always tell myself I’ll go to sleep “right after this next puzzle.” Of course, this next “puzzle” becomes “puzzles” because you cannot end without completing an entire row. Other times, it may even become “this next page” because you don’t want to leave any “?” on the page.

Can’t put it down until you finish the row (sometimes the entire page).

The music is very relaxing in Picross and there may only be about five tracks per game (the menu song, the regular puzzle song, a clip picross song and the “no help” puzzle song), but each entry has had their own unique, signature style of music. S3 had some funky jazzy music that really helped with solving the “no help” puzzles.

For those who aren’t familiar with Picross, here is a short clip of me solving one of the early puzzles:

Building Blocks Picross

Wasn’t that exciting? Maybe it’s not as fun to watch as it is to solve. Maybe you’re now confused by the “x’s” and blocks. The timer gives the whole thing an extra layer of anxiety, as you race the clock to finish before whatever time you think is way too long. This is the perfect snack (appetizer or dessert) game to play before, after or between whatever big game you are currently playing. But it can also just be the main game you are playing, if you’re really into Picross (like me). I also like it as a bed time game to play until I get really tired and I’m ready to go to sleep.

I never really care to see what the image at the end of the puzzle is, especially in the early puzzles. I usually solve and move on quickly to the next one without even really noticing what I’ve created. The image doesn’t really matter at all. It’s all about puzzle solving in an acceptable amount of time. This last video though was a fun one, especially for an early puzzle. It’s a person jumping on a trampoline (it was so odd looking that I did notice this one). I was also hoping it was a skateboarder doing a kick flip over some grass. Maybe if the other puzzles were this strange I would notice more of them.

Trampoline Picross

If you’re into the art of Picross and want to see some cool art, you will definitely enjoy Clip Picross (I save these for the endgame). Clip Picross is where multiple puzzles of all varieties come together to make up one mega work of art. I think that was introduced in a later version of Picross (maybe S3) and they were all based on one theme (which I won’t give away). Mega Picross and Color Picross are more confusing and not for me, but I may go back and try them out when I run out of Picross to play (I believe you are solving the same puzzles, but using different strategies).

Picross and Clip Picross is where it’s at!

What I’m trying to say is that if you haven’t played a Picross game you should definitely get into them. If you’re not really into puzzles that’s cool too. But these games are super relaxing and calming. I guess that’s only when you’re doing a good job, any time I get stuck on a “no help” puzzle it gets very frustrating. But, overall my experience with the Picross collection of games has been a pleasant one. I will continue to play Picross games until they stop making them, and if they stop making them I will go back and replay old ones.

Happy PS5 day! Picross S5 Day!

One thought on “My Picross Obsession

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