I've come across a few people online who play the Picross games obsessively, and I can sort of see why. Picross is predictable bubble gum for the brain, and it is satisfying to play through some puzzles every once in a while, but I'm definitely not someone who feels compelled to finish every single Picross puzzle I come across. I assume Jupiter Corporation, which has been responsible for all the Nintendo-published Picross games since the original Mario's Picross on Game Boy, have made quite an easy profit, and versions for 3DS and Switch abound, including My Nintendo Picross: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which I played a few years ago.

I rewound the clock a bit and spent some time with Picross DS, I think the only Picross game released for that system. The core game is pretty much exactly what you would expect and the touch and button control options work fine, but there are a few frills included. The completed puzzle has a little animation; there are a few different music tracks for each mode; and there are some daily missions with unique modes, such as having you fix errors or hiding some of the numbers you would normally need to solve the puzzle. There are also some throwaway little minigames included for the heck of it. You can also create and trade puzzles with friends, and there were some official downloadable puzzles and a versus mode that, of course, are no longer available since the DS's Wi-Fi services shutdown a long time ago.

The puzzles vary in size, and it's a little awkward to zoom in and out of the larger puzzles, but there's not really any getting around that. One annoyance is that for the easier puzzles you can't turn off the feature that tells you if you've made an error, which is something I always prefer to do without. In general there's a wide variety of puzzle images ranging from fruits to animals, and near the end of the game, Nintendo characters. Overall this game has a few more features than the other Picross games I've played, although none of them are essential. Picross DS is a little less compelling in the "theme and fun" category, so I'd still have to give some of the other games in the series the edge, but this is a worthwhile game even years later and Picross fans should enjoy it.


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