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First Impressions: Illust Logic

Posted by Sean Aaron

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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User Comments (7)

Kimiko

#2

Kimiko said:

Illust Logic is what the game was called back when I played it in the '90s. Pity that the DS versions don't do large images like 30×30, 40×40 and up. Higher resolution images are more satisfying when you see them completed.

How is this program at auto-solving puzzles / helping the player? I hated that Nintendo's Picross automatically filled in squares I wasn't certain about yet myself. That took the fun out of it for me.

Tip: If you want machine translations of Japanese text, please use Yahoo's Babelfish, not Google. Google's translations are notoriously inaccurate. http://babelfish.yahoo.com/

Adamant

#4

Adamant said:

Probably not, Picross is Picross, you can't really make any one title "better" or "worse" than others. Just toss in a wide variety of puzzles, and you're good.
Don't really care about stylus support either, too clunky and the squares are too small for it to work well. But it's probably a good title that does it's job well.

Stuffgamer1

#5

Stuffgamer1 said:

@Adamant: That's not entirely true...less skilled developers can create puzzles that are actually IMPOSSIBLE to solve using pure logic. I had that problem with a game released on the Xbox 360's "Indie Games" service. Which is pretty pathetic, given that the game was in some way affiliated with a supposedly famous French Picross website.

There's also the user interface; some get it better than others. And, as Kimiko said, there's the issue of what help options there are and how they work.

Is there even the remotest chance that this will come out West (specifically, to America...I'm sick of Hudson releasing games in Europe and skipping us)? I love Picross, and want as much as possible!:D

Klapaucius

#6

Klapaucius said:

This is more like it :D
Be picking these Illust games up next time I'm over there, for sure.

Sean_Aaron

#7

Sean_Aaron said:

The help options are as described - it won't solve the board for you. I like the pluses in the rows with the correct block groupings myself, but the little bubble with the length of the current row is a bit obtrusive so that I turn off.

Stylus support is excellent, it's very accurate I find and I prefer it to the remote point input in Illust Logic+Colourful Logic.

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