Despite there being so many different number-based puzzle games, some publishers seem to love putting nothing but Sudoku games on DSiWare. Nintendo has sadly not delivered a download for "A Little Bit of Picross DS" yet, so for now, this is the only game of its sort available on the service. Based on a fairly recent DS retail title, it features some of its puzzles, although most of them are new.
By this point you should be familiar with how this type of game works. If not, we suggest reading one of our many other reviews that explain. Animal Color Cross is largely the same as what you might be used to by now, with one little twist. While the objective is usually to fill in specific squares, leaving the rest open (or marked), here you're tasked with filling in every square on the grid.
Don't go thinking every puzzle's solution is just a big black square because of this, however – in this game, you've got multiple colours available to fill in squares, rather than just the one. The by-now familiar grid is displayed completely on the top screen, with all different colours and their accompanying numbers listed above and to the left.
On the bottom screen you can only see the numbers for one colour at a time, to make things less confusing, but you can cycle between colours any time you want. Once you've correctly filled in all squares for one colour, it'll be blocked off from selection, thus making it clear that one's done. In case this still doesn't make sense to you, the game includes a short tutorial that teaches you everything step by step.
The different colours are about the only real gameplay change from Nintendo's Picross games and other similar titles. Animal Color Cross features 72 puzzles divided up over 8 puzzle sets (five of which have to be unlocked, which goes rather fast), each being based on one particular region of the world (North America, Europe, Asia, etc.) and featuring fitting puzzle solutions. For each puzzle in one set you'll clear, you'll unlock one ninth of a larger, real-life photo of an animal. Clearing the whole set obviously lets you see the whole image, but there's no further extras attached.
As the retail title featured 150 puzzles, that means you've got almost half a full-price game here for just 500 Nintendo Points: quite a steal, we think. As said before, the puzzles are not all taken from the original game, so if you've played it before you can easily buy this one as well.
There's only one real problem with the game, but it's a glaring one – despite the original title featuring background music at all times, this game is completely devoid of it. Of course, problems like this are always fixable with any form of music player nearby, but we just can't imagine why the developers would leave out something that was part of the game before: the DSiWare version is not very big in terms of block size, so they could've easily increased it a little and added some tunes. The graphics in Picross games have always been very simple, and this one's no exception, but we can't really fault it for that.
As the first Picross game available on DSiWare, Animal Color Cross is a very solid pick for anybody craving more grid-checking action. For just 500 Nintendo Points you're getting something half the size of a previous retail game, which is obviously a great deal. The lack of music is just completely weird, though, and might put off people who don't want to go to extra lengths to have some playing.