Picross S was a solid addition to the Nintendo Switch’s library when it launched late last year. What it may have lacked in pizzazz, it more than made up for in the addictiveness of its puzzles. Tough and clever, they kept me coming back right up to the game’s very last brainteaser. Developer Jupiter is back once more though with Picross S2, a sequel that looks to offer more pixelated fun with a few new tweaks and additions.
If you’ve ever played a Picross game before then you’ll feel right at home here, the general premise identical. For those who’ve yet to be acquainted though, Picross is a logic-based puzzle game taking place on a grid of squares. Your job is to deduce which of these squares need to be filled in based off of the numerical information provided for each horizontal and vertical line. For example when dealing with a small grid that consists of 5×5 squares, if a line has a ‘5’ next to it, then that means every single square along this line needs to be filled in. Nice and simple. If however, it reads ‘3’ then you will need to fill in this number of consecutive squares – where on the line though, is something you’ll need to figure out using information from other rows and columns. Of course, these are very easy examples, but as you can imagine as the size of the grid increases so too does the difficulty in completing them.
So why are you filling in a bunch of squares? When you have completed a puzzle the end result is a pixel-art image. This can be anything from a mushroom to a study room. As random and seemingly pointless as these images might be, there’s satisfaction in uncovering each one acting as an almost reward for all your hard work.
Whether you’re using the Joy-Con or a Pro Controller, Picross S2 makes selecting squares an easy process. It’s the little additions such as being able to fill in multiple squares by holding the button or counting squares before committing to a fill or cross (very useful for the bigger grids) that make all the difference in navigating the grids. Two players can also work together in solving the game’s many puzzles, a neat feature I’m glad returned from the original and perfect for those long trips or when you’re out and about.
Much like the original, Picross S2 includes 150 traditional vanilla-style puzzles reaching grids as big as 20×15 squares. Also making a return is Mega Picross, a much tougher alternative where certain numbers on the grid refer to two adjacent rows or columns instead of just the one. I found this mode to be too much, the difficulty spike making what was already challenging something far more brutal. Plus considering the fact that the 150 puzzles in Mega Picross use identical pictures to those in the regular batch, I found little reason to replay them again only this time with the added stress.
Clip Picross is new this time around involving five collections of smaller Picross puzzles that when completed all combine to create one much larger picture. These contain anything from 10 to 60 smaller brainteasers that gradually unlock the further you progress in the regular Picross mode. Its hardly game-changing stuff but offers a nice sense of progression as you slowly building up each picture piece by piece.
Picross S2 is uncomplicated in its presentation, the game doing exactly what it needs to – keep things nice and clear. Even the modes offer their own brief tutorials for those non-rehearsed. Load times are also kept to a minimum and the music keeps in tone with the slower pace of the action on screen.
Jupiter has delivered another satisfying slice of Picross bliss. While Picross S2 might be just more of the same, its hard to imagine a way in which the developer could shake things up without ruining what makes the puzzler so addictive in the first place. If you’re hungry for more Picross or just a new puzzler in general then Picross S2 is a safe recommendation, albeit a rather predictable one.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Jupiter