Another year, another entry in the Picross S series, yadda yadda yadda… Look there’s been nine of these things now (more if you count the numerous spin-offs) and it’s becoming increasingly tougher and tougher to come up with some catchy opening paragraph I haven’t used already before. Cut me some slack. At the end of the day, this is still very much a video game about solving Picross puzzles, a formula developer Jupiter is well-versed in and has hit a point now where every new entry feels like a bunch more puzzles rather than fresh changes.
Reading back over that opener, I may come across as rather cynical, however, the truth is as a fan of Picross of any kind, more puzzles is actually a great thing. Think of it like buying yourself a new crossword book from the local bookshop, familiar but no less satisfying to work through. That’s the Picross S series, particularly with these later entries where the additional features and options feel fewer and fewer.
Picross S9 perhaps marks the entry that features the least in the way of new elements, the only real addition being the ability to rewind back through previous moves you’ve made. Hardly revolutionary stuff, but again it doesn’t need to be. I’m here for the puzzles and Picross S9 delivers hundreds of new grid-based brainteasers.
It would be so easy to copy over or point to one of my reviews from the previous Picross S8, as mode-wise everyone is present and accounted for (in fact you can read my review on the most recent entries Picross S8 and Picross S7 here and here). You have the standard vanilla-style Picross puzzles ranging in size from diddy 5×5 grids to 10×10 and bigger still. Mega Picross raises the difficulty considerably by providing numerical clues tied to more than one row or column. Colour Picross unsurprisingly introduces colours into the mix. Clip Picross sees you solving smaller puzzles that when revealed combine to create one giant pixellated image. Lastly, those with save data for Picross S4, S5 or S6 can unlock stupidly large grids sure to test even the most practised of Picross players.
For returning players, all this will feel immediately familiar. The same applies to the game’s options too; tutorials that ease newcomers in nicely, settings that allow you to make things as tough or guided as you like, touchscreen controls and even four players’ simultaneous play. The presentation too is reliably clean and tidy whether you’re playing on the television or in handheld mode.
As predictable as this game is, it’s never in a negative way. If anything sitting down with Picross S9 is like slipping into a comfy pair of slippers, warm and inviting. Would it have been nice to see some surprise new modes, something a little out of leftfield like Jupiter’s PICROSS X: Picbits vs Uzboross? Sure, but at the same time, there is plenty to sink your teeth into here, plenty of modes that cater to skill levels of all types.
Picross S9 is… well, it’s more Picross. If you’ve never been interested in these types of puzzles then the latest entry isn’t going to change that view but if you’re the kind of person hungry for more grids to solve or seeing dreaming of shading in boxes in your sleep then picking up this latest entry should be a no brainer.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Jupiter