Picross 3D adds a third-dimension fun to puzzle games
- Puzzle solving mechanics are fairly intuitive, puzzles themselves are varied and fun to solve
- Presentation is a little barren, blocky nature of shapes makes it hard to discern what they are
An intuitive portable puzzle game, Picross 3D offers up a worthwhile assortment of varied and challenging head-scratchers, even if they're occasionally bogged down by the game's blocky, barren presentation.
I like puzzle games a lot, even the ones I'm not particularly great at, because they're more methodical and slow-paced than action heavy games. They require the same set of skills -- precision, reflexes, spatial and logical reasoning, etc. -- but the pace is far more manageable and it's nice to turn down the volume on the twitch muscles and rely on the old noggin once in a while. This is why I enjoyed the original Picross when it debuted on the DS a few years ago, and it's also why I enjoyed its three-dimensional sibling, Picross 3D. The emphasis on three-dimensional perspectives is far more challenging, and the format works well on Nintendo's handheld, resulting in a nice little puzzle title that perfectly complements my usual puzzle rotation of crosswords and Sudoku.
Picross puzzles consist of a grid with numbers attached to each row and column; the numbers represent how many squares need to be filled in. If a row has the numbers 1, 2, and 4 attached to it, it means you have to first fill in one square, then a set of two squares, and finally, a set of four, with blank squares inbetween. You do this for each row and column to eventually end up with an image. The challenge derives from juggling the numbers and deducing which squares must be filled in from the clues provided. Picross 3D adds a third-dimension to the mix, so rather than contend with a flat grid, you have to literally dig into the puzzle and figure out blocks that are hidden from your normal view.
Rather than just shade in squares you want to keep, you also have to chip away at extraneous blocks the way a sculptor would with a slab of marble, eventually revealing a hidden shape. You can twist and turn the puzzle around and sliders let you see inside the guts of the entire puzzle block both horizontally and vertically. You press up on the diagonal pad to activate the hammer to get rid of blocks and you press right to mark the ones you want to keep. It's fairly intuitive, and the best compliment I can pay the game is that the physical mechanics never got in the way; the only real roadblock to solving the puzzles was my own ability to wrap my head around the concept of a 3D puzzle.
There is a good variety to the shapes -- each falls into a specific collection like dogs and fruit -- but it's difficult to discern exactly what you're trying to reveal thanks to the bulky, pixelated nature of the puzzles. You could usually tell what the shape was in original Picross puzzles after you've filled in enough squares, and that aided you in your sleuthing; in Picross 3D, the shapes are a bit harder to discern, making deductions more difficult. Keeping an eye out for symmetry definitely helps -- if there's a wing-shaped formation on the right side, it's a safe bet that there's one on the left -- but often, I would solve a puzzle and be surprised by what I had revealed.
Still, there are a large number of puzzles, and even though the replay value is limited -- the puzzles will never change so once you've beaten one, the only real incentive is to go back and try to do it perfectly or to beat your original time -- I felt like there were enough that I wouldn't get bored anytime soon. There are also bonus stages that require a set number of stars before they're unlocked -- you gain three stars if you solve a puzzle without making any mistakes in the allotted time -- which is a nice incentive as well.
Picross 3D won't exactly set the world on fire with its explosive graphics or its thrilling action but it's a competent and fun puzzle game. I enjoyed twisting my brain around the puzzles and I liked that it wasn't so difficult (at least on the easier levels -- I still haven't worked my way to the expert level puzzles, but I'm looking forward to it) that I felt frustrated. It's definitely one I'll keep around for those times when I need some quiet time.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Star Citizen dumps DirectX 12 plans to focus on Vulkan-powered graphics
- Dungeons and Dragons ditches pen and paper with D&D Beyond
- Exclusive no more: PlayStation 4 games are coming to the PC via PlayStation Now
- Adding video apps like Netflix to the Nintendo Switch is a waste of Nintendo's energy
- You can download Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android today
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- LG 2017 OLED and Super LED UHD 4K TVs: Hands-on review
- Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- TPAPS6 Java DeveloperACT
- FTData Centre Technical SpecialistACT
- FTLead Network Project ManagerNSW
- FTService Desk AnalystNSW
- FTEAM Delivery Manager - SAPNSW
- FTLinux System AdminstratorQLD
- TPSalesforce Functional AnalystNSW
- FTKey Account ManagerVIC
- FTWeb DeveloperVIC
- FTICT Project ManagerNSW
- FTJunior-Mid Level Implementation CoordinatorQLD
- FTHelpdesk TechnicianVIC
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)VIC
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistACT
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- CCTest LeadQLD
- CCNetwork Engineer (cisco)NSW
- CCApplication Support Specialist- Bathurst or Port MacquarieNSW
- FTInside Sales Consultants - SMSF SoftwareNSW
- FTDatabase Administrator - OracleQLD
- TPSQL Server Developer | 3 month contract |NSW
- FTIncident and Problem ManagerVIC
- FTSenior Change Readiness ManagerNSW
- TPProject Manager - Digital Banking ProjectQLD