Nintendo seems to have single-handedly popularised picross on home and console game systems, with only Hudson daring to dabble in the same space. Continuing the tradition they've partnered with D4 Enterprise to bring a new faster-paced game to the DSi which combines traditional Picross with elements of Konami's old puzzle/shooter, Quarth.
Instead of creating an image pixel-by-pixel on an empty grid, you're given a nearly complete image with only a few remaining blocks needing to be placed in greyed-out areas. In order to do this you move your UFO along the bottom of the screen and fire the blocks into the gaps. Sound easy? Well, there's a couple of complications that combine to make for some fiendish noggin' noodling. You can only have as many blocks on screen as are required to finish the puzzle and you can only fire blocks at other blocks (the borders of the screen don't count). As a result you'll need to strategically place and remove blocks to act as stopping points so you can place other blocks in the correct places. Your UFO is fixed at the bottom of the screen, but you can rotate the picture using the DSi's shoulder buttons in order to hit the other sides of the image. Early stages are pretty straightforward, but it won't be long before you're trying to figure out the proper sequence of placing and removing blocks in order to arrive at the solution.
A big-headed pink-haired fairy/alien girl is apparently giving you advice (or saying how crap you are) in the top panel whilst all the action takes place below. There's no touchscreen use at all: instead you're moving your UFO with the D-PAD and firing/removing blocks with the A and B buttons, whilst X will undo your last action.
Your best time is recorded when you clear the stage and you get to see the black-and-white blocky image colourised as is the norm in picross games. There are seven levels in all with over 40 stages in each. There's a couple of areas to unlock in the main menu; one of which is probably the Time Attack mode. Needless to say there's a lot of puzzling to be done in order to find out! Importers concerned about the language issue need not fear as it's all pretty straightforward and there's three different fully-animated tutorials to show you how to play through the various challenges presented (later stages add squares with holes you cannot fire blocks through and blue blocks you need to move around).
For 500 Points it's a fairly full-featured game which picross fans won't want to pass up and will hopefully come to other territories soon.