Game Review: Pokemon Picross (2015)


Release date: 2015
Version played: Nintendo 3DS in 2015

Two of my favourite things in life are monsters in my pocket, and crossword puzzles which make pictures, so imagine my utter ecstasy when one of my Street Passes was someone who recently played “Pokemon Picross”. Released as a digital download for the Nintendo 3DS, and developed by Jupiter Corporation and The Pokemon Company, Pokemon Picross is, as the name suggests, a game where the picross puzzles all make pictures from the Pokemon games, be that the Pokemon themselves or well known items. After completing each puzzle, that Pokemon can then  use a special ability to help with the next puzzle, and so on and so forth.

Picross is a puzzle game where the goal is to fill in square, based on both vertical and horizontal number clues. Think of it as the love-child of a paint-by-numbers and a crossword. It is not difficult, but the basics may take too long to explain in this review. Rest assured, the concept of Picross puzzles are 100% MoshFish approved.

+ the game is free to download, and can technically be played entirely without any payments (though this would require some major grinding). Upon spending a pre-set amount (that is, purchasing 5000 in game tokens, which equated to roughly $40 AUD) you are given an unlimited amount of token to use. To me, $40 was an easy spend for a game which I have played for 20+ hours and am only about half way to two thirds completed
+ there are hundreds upon hundreds of puzzles, ranging from very easy to extreme difficult, with the option to bypass the harder puzzles until you have more powerful Pokemon to help you (although completing a harder puzzle without any aid is a very rewarding feeling in itself)
+ each of the above mentioned puzzles is a unique Pokemon to use, with one of 12 different skills, ranging in power based on the Pokemon, including the likes of slowing or freezing the game clock
+ each puzzle also has a series of mini-conditions which will provide the in-game token when completed. These also range from easy to difficult, to sometimes just very contrived. Overall, though, they were enjoyable and provided another layer of challenge on the easier puzzles

– the game is free-to-start, but is incredibly grind-y without at least minor microtransaction use. An option to perhaps just pay $40 up front and not have to worry about the in-game currency at all would not have been a bad idea
– as a minor gripe, only having 12 abilities for some 300-odd Pokemon means there is lots of overlap, which makes the earlier obtained Pokemon next to useless for the latter puzzles

> I guess the full title of the game would would be “Pocket Monsters Picture Crosswords”, which is amusing to me

Should you play this game: Absolutely. Either putting some serious hours into it, or just as a “one-a-day” time waster, Pokemon Picross is a fantastic addition to the Pokemon universe, and the series of Picross puzzles. You don’t need to be a huge Pokemon fan to enjoy this, so I can honestly recommend it to anyone who likes using their heads to solve a good challenge.

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