With Jupiter’s PICROSS e series having boggled minds with more than 700 picture crossword puzzles already, it comes as a surprise that there’s enough inspiration left in the world to produce enough content for a sixth game. But, it appears that there is.
PICROSS e6 gives everyone more of what they want. Puzzles. And more than 300, in fact. These begin with a coat hanger and end with a hang glider, showing both ends of the spectrum in revealing both mundane and more exciting illustrations.
For the uninitiated, puzzles are solved by using numbers that line each grid along the top and left sides. These act as hints, indicating how many squares need to be filled within each row and column. More than one number may be shown such as ‘3 1’, meaning that players must leave at least one square blank before filling in the final square.
If you think that a square isn’t necessary to be filled, you can mark them with a cross as you slowly piece together the overlapping squares. Once complete, you can breathe a sigh of relief as the hidden illustration will appear – becoming coloured if you do so within a rather generous 60 minute time limit.
Normal rules mean that if you fill in an incorrect square, you will receive a time penalty. However, such an extra challenge can be removed by changing to free rules in the pause menu.
The only real change in PICROSS e6 is that every puzzle can be played in either Picross or Mega Picross modes. Picross mode is the main gameplay type that I described above, whereas Mega Picross introduces ‘Mega Numbers’ which are hint numbers that span across two rows or columns. This means that an ‘8’ would indicate that eight squares need to be filled across the two and that such squares are always linked together. It adds another layer of challenge to the experience, even if we’ve seen it before.
The same can be said for the returning Micross, where puzzles consist of an Overall Puzzle grid that is comprised of multiple Micro Puzzles within each square. These are a real time sink, and deliver the most rewarding feeling once conquered.
Those that have purchased and still have save data for either PICROSS e, PICROSS e2 or PICROSS e3 will be rewarded with five Special Puzzles per game. But, as with the previous game, neither Picross e4 or PICROSS e5 offer such rewards which still strikes me as strange.
Players can choose between either Stylus or Button Controls, although I’d always recommend the former. But, you can quickly switch between the two if you want to try both out. The presentation itself is clean and simple, the stereoscopic 3D effect working well to layer minimalistic backdrops.
PICROSS e6 plays it safe and delivers iteration rather than evolution. Those that enjoy the series will certainly do so here, but Jupiter has trodden the same puzzle formula for too long now. It’s time to introduce something new.