First Impressions: Illust Logic

Downloadable picross? Yes, please!

Although video game versions of nonograms (better known to Nintendo gamers as Picross) were originally controlled with a D-Pad and buttons like any other game, it's clearly a genre that benefits massively from the touchscreen interface of Nintendo's DS family of handhelds. No surprise then that Hudson has seen fit to release a version of their own picross game, Illust Logic, for DSiWare.

After selecting one of three profile slots and choosing your game settings you can partake of one of three game modes. The first is straight-up picross with 200 puzzles split across five categories: "living," "instrument," "seasonal," "tools" and "food" (according to the Google translation of the Japanese Hudson site for the game, anyway). Each category features five 15x15 puzzles and five 20x20 puzzles. You'll be awarded stars upon completion of a puzzle based upon the amount of time taken to clear it with the best times being visible from the puzzle select screen.

There's a further mode in which you need to complete four different 20x20 puzzles to reveal one large image and then a time-attack mode where you need to complete a randomly-chosen puzzle in less than 20min. Only one difficulty was available in this last category labeled "Rookie," so we assume that if you complete enough puzzles in the regular game, additional time attack puzzles of greater difficulty will be unlocked for play. As a bonus, other DS owners can play puzzles you've completed via Download Play. This isn't a multiplayer game, but simply allows others to download a puzzle you designate as a way to try it out.

Gameplay is like you'd expect from a picross game: tap squares to fill them in or blank them out, ensuring you check the indicators at the top and side to see how many groups of filled-in squares are required in each column and row to create the desired image. You can use the d-pad and buttons if you like, but the stylus is preferred for intuitive ease-of-use. A bubble will handily display the length and width of lines as you draw them if you want to fill in contiguous groups of squares. Whilst this is handy, it also covers nearby squares which can be a bit annoying at times; so it's good that there's an option to turn this off. Tapping a square will highlight the corresponding row/column indicator which is a must because the column indicators are in the top screen along with a zoomed-out image of what you've filled-in thus far. There's a further option to enable a "Win Check" indicator which will put "+" in the middle of squares once the requirements for a column/row are met (NB: this is purely on the basis of matching the numbers in the column/row indicator and aren't necessarily correct). In addition to the game-related options above you have a choice of three innocuous soundtracks and can change the pattern and colour of the background art.

For 500 Points that's plenty of picross fun for puzzle fans, though once you're through with these there's another Illust Logic collection available for download featuring another 200 puzzles in five categories including Japanese folklore, sea life and vehicles. If we're reading the Hudson website properly these puzzles are different from those included in the Wii and DS retail version of Illust Logic + Colourful Logic, so if you have an import DSi and are a massive picross fan, it should still be worth picking up.

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