The Switch has had quite a 3 (or 4, depending on how deep you’re looking to go in the roster) way race in the Picross puzzling space, with each series having their own flair. I would have thought that meant the space was completely full and in need of no further options but now PiCTOOi has arrived to set me straight. The core gameplay is still the same, featuring various pictograph images of varying sizes that you’ll need to use your savvy as you look at the numbered patterns on the horizontal and vertical axes to plot out carefully. Now, to be clear, while some competitors feature multi-color puzzles this is more old school with only one set, so its complexity is lower. This really has more of a purist feel with less focus on trying to provide feedback to help you complete puzzles in the interface, giving it more of a Sudoku feel where you’ll need to grit your teeth and carefully work out which spaces get a colored block and which should be disabled. Somewhat in that vein the other major feature is its Brain Age-esque presentation, complete with a little robot (I reject him being a lightbulb!) who’ll gladly give you supplemental info about each puzzle, and a calendar feature so you can track your consistent play as a mental exercise towards your health. Fans of Mutant Mudds (and some other Atooi franchises) will also likely be tickled by a diorama mode that will reveal a number of game art pieces bit by bit as you complete collections of puzzles. About its only weak point is what feels like a painfully long pause as you close each puzzle to go back to the menu but in general I’d say Picross fans now have 4 legitimate contenders for the crown that will likely see a winner tied more to personal tastes as each has their own distinctive flavor.
Justin Nation, Score: