Thursday, August 2

Review: Picross S2 [Nintendo Switch eShop]

The Picross series is very well regarded for good reason, its style of puzzles are both simple and challenging at the same time… it’s a great combination. For those who are uninitiated the good news is that it’s not hard to learn its system. Looking at a grid you’ll see numbers representing the placement of filled-in pixels in its rows and columns. The challenge is to figure out how to make everything line up in the right combination to complete a simple picture. While it starts out pretty easy as you progress you’ll be testing your powers of deduction to their limits to figure everything out, and completing tough puzzles is almost always rewarding.

Rather than just rest on their laurels and deliver only more of the same Picross S first introduced the Mega Picross style that will sometimes show numbers representing 2 adjacent columns or rows. This seemingly simple change actually steps up the challenge quite a bit, and takes some getting used to. For S2 they’ve made another addition, Clip Picross mode, that may not significantly change up how you play but does an excellent job of incentivizing you to play through levels so you can unlock puzzles that represent pieces of a bigger picture. It’s not a revolution but I’ll admit that the compulsion to play just a little more to get closer to completing these larger puzzles was strong.

Aside from those notes there’s not much that has changed, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The formula is excellent, the controls work sensibly, and the challenge is consistent. The fact that you can work a puzzle with a friend cooperatively I’d consider more of a gimmick than a plus but some people really may enjoy this feature. Since my thought process is pretty rigidly defined I found someone else working in the same space to be a distraction but it’s still a nice option depending on how you play. Throw in the budget-friendly price and S2 is a package that should be hard for puzzle fans to ignore.

Score: 8

  • A classic puzzle style that remains challenging
  • Mega Picross mode is a great option if you want to step up the challenge
  • Clip Picross mode is a terrific addition that lets you unlock even bigger pictures a piece at a time

  • Still a bummer that Mega Picross doesn’t have its own dedicated puzzles
  • No touchscreen support, though the controls are very simple and competent
  • Co-op mode is a nice feature to have as an option but whose value will vary for most people