|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: HAL Laboratory||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 3, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Starting a puzzle requires you to look at various combinations of these numbers in order to eliminate blocks that aren't in the picture, using the marking tool, which saves blocks you need, and the hammer, which breaks those you don't. So if you're looking at a three-by-three grid of blocks that's one block deep, and the solution of the puzzle is a plus sign, the middle row would have a "3" labeled on the left-to-right side, while the middle blocks in the top and bottom rows would have "1" labeled front-to-back, assuming you're looking at the grid from the front. After marking the each of these five blocks, smashing the other four would produce the plus sign and solve the puzzle. Needless to say, even with this very simple example (and much like its predecessor) Picross 3D is a very logical, left-brained kind of game that wont suit those without patience.
The game doesn't remain simple for long, however. Many times you'll start a puzzle, mark or smash whatever obvious blocks are present (such as a row of "0"s, indicating that every block in the row should be hammered away) only to be stuck with a series of circled numbers to guide you. Since without more clues you can't know which combinations of blocks circled numbers are correct, Picross 3D forces you to make logical leaps by going through the various available combinations of numbers and finding which blocks are used in all the combinations (you can also do this with normally-labeled numbers). After doing so, marking the blocks you know have to be involved no matter what the combination is will often open up new clues that may help you solve another labeled number's sequence. Thankfully, for the bigger slabs you have to work with, the game also gives you slicers, which allow you to view the inside blocks of a row or column that would normally be completely buried by outside layers. However, when you start dealing with the larger puzzles, it also means that you have even more numbers, combinations, and pattern sequences to keep track of. There's many times in the game when you feel like you may have to make a logical guess, but it's pretty much a given that it's just because you're looking at a problem using the wrong combination of number clues.
That said, Picross 3D can be both thoroughly addictive and utterly maddening. With time limits and a finite number of mistakes (as in smashing a block that's part of the puzzle's solution) it can be very taxing to take all this numeric brain-teasing without pressure (my only complaint? No undo option for accidental mistakes). But if you can manage the challenge, Picross 3D is worth checking out. The art style of simple shading, basic polygonal objects is charming, if not as great as Picross DS's Game and Watch-style aesthetic, and it's definitely rewarding when you've managed to craft a complex three-dimensional image from a giant grid of blocks. Those ADHD-addled gamers who might just as soon play a round of Modern Warfare 2 deathmatch, however, are advised to look elsewhere.
CCC Freelance Writer