(Super Nintendo)

Mario's Super Picross (Super Nintendo)

Game Review

Mario's Super Picross Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

The in-game tutorial, the greatest puzzle

The early batch of Wii U Virtual Console games have followed a bit of a trend, in that they serve up familiar retro goodies with a few Wii U specific extras. For Europeans there's been the extra treat of getting these classics in their 60Hz variety, but in the case of Mario's Super Picross the treat is getting the game at all. Just as on Wii Virtual Console it arrives in the region in its Japanese guise, so be prepared to puzzle your way through the odd menu or, if you don't feel particularly daring, read all about important details in the manual. Aside from that it's classic Picross decorated in a 16-bit bow — no more and no less.

To anyone unfamiliar, Picross is a grid based game where you use numbered clues, for both rows and columns, to fill in boxes that eventually create an image. The numbers, either singular or in multiples, show how many boxes need to be filled in — or chiseled in this case — in a row, so on a small grid of five boxes a clue of that number means fill in the whole row or column; in the case of multiple numbers, you also need to allow for at least one space between chiseled blocks. Like all puzzle games it starts remarkably easy, but the grids get substantially bigger and the clues trickier to apply — being told to chisel one box in a row of 20 is impossible without working through other areas first.

Despite being presented in Japanese — which may be a surprise to anyone not paying attention to warning messages in the eShop — the simplicity of the concept shines through. There are two distinct variations on offer: the Mario levels have a time limit to adhere to but allow clues, whereas the Wario levels have no time limit but don't provide clues of any kind. Both modes have their own challenges, as mistakes in the Mario mode will cost you precious minutes, but these mistakes are recorded with a cross; as a result a loss of time can still provide a handy clue. You can also take a hint at the start, with a roulette selection of a row and column that the game fills in, while sacrificing five minutes gives you another set of hints. In the Wario mode you're left entirely to your own devices to figure it out the old-fashioned way — as if working on paper, the game gives no cues or ideas if you're right or wrong.

The controls are simple, too, with the D-Pad used to move the cursor, A to chisel a block — or mark a clue red for reference — and B to mark a square with an X. It's simple puzzling beyond that, with each level including a small group of challenges, with more unlocking as you progress to provide more than 200 puzzles across both modes — if you have the skill and patience to get that far.

If we're to compare this SNES effort against contemporaries such as those on the 3DS eShop, it's a mixed contest. On the one hand there's a greater sense of comfort playing larger grids on the TV or even the GamePad screen, whereas tougher levels in titles such as Picross e could be tricky to visualise and solve. On the flipside the presentation is aging in this 16-bit title, with the blocky resolution not standing up well to flashier modern titles; while it may seem harsh to compare different generations of this genre, the fact is that this title has a higher asking price than prominent 3DS eShop rivals.

Yet it does little wrong, overall. Wii U benefits such as the save state functionality are borderline irrelevant in this kind of experience — the standard suspend point is adequate — but Miiverse is always a welcome extra. You can also play with alternative controllers but, again, considering the gameplay, it's far easier to simply use the GamePad. On the flipside, a second player can join in, if a bit of co-op Picross on the sofa is appealing. Retro fans may also get a kick out of the primitive animations in some of the solutions, though a negative is that when playing for longer periods we were driven to switch the background music off — some will enjoy its SNES jingles more, however.

Conclusion

With a genre like Picross, it's easy to get it right. Mario's Super Picross offers plenty of puzzles in two distinct modes, while the option to play on the TV or GamePad means that larger, more complex grids will be comfortable to take on. It's simple fare, in that sense, but this does show its age against some modern equivalents, making the pricing a surprise. Despite that and its continuing lack of translation from Japanese — a much smaller problem than it sounds — it serves its purpose well for fans of the genre; it'd be hard to get it wrong, in truth.

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User Comments (25)

Captain_Balko

#2

Captain_Balko said:

@Whirlpool It's on Wii U in Europe. That's what the review is for.

If this ever did come to North America, although I enjoy picross, I would be a bit annoyed at the fact that the Japanese isn't translated. Oh well, I suppose I shouldn't complain. It's a miracle that this game came overseas at all.

Late

#4

Late said:

I really enjoyed Mario's Picross and have thought about getting Mario's Super Picross for Wii but never did because it's more suitable for handheld. I think it's time for me to get it for Wii U soon although I already have plenty of Picross games.

Stuffgamer1

#6

Stuffgamer1 said:

Everybody who wants the game in North America...take to Miiverse! Probably the Japanese Miiverse page for the game would work better than the European one...at least, I suspect so. If nothing else, the relative rarity of English posts will make us stand out more.

Gridatttack

#8

Gridatttack said:

Awesome game. I played the GB one recently and really enjoyed this. I hope one day they bring this to the US. Would be nice to revisit this game again :)

LEGEND_MARIOID

#9

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Wii U VC is the 3rd platform I have this game on. Brilliant game. Also have Picross DS, 3D Picross and the Picross e series on 3DS eShop. Can't enough of the Picross genre.

manu0

#12

manu0 said:

How many Mario themed Picrosses are in there? I have enough Picross games as it is, but none of them Mario themed...

Gridatttack

#14

Gridatttack said:

@manu0 They are 3 Mario themed Picross games IIRC. They are 2 for the Game Boy: The first Mario Picross. Then its sequel that was only released in Japan.
The third one is this one (MSP).

manu0

#15

manu0 said:

@Gridatttack Sorry, I meant something different. I wanted to know how many Mario themed puzzles are in THIS game (if any), because I didn't see any Mario themed puzzles in the video footage I've seen of this game.

RupeeClock

#17

RupeeClock said:

I recommend Mario's Super Picross over Picross E or Picross E2, the puzzles are much more challenging, and there are a whole 300 puzzles to tackle.
It also features a working "try it out" mode for free-mode puzzles which the 3DS games are lacking, and has some pretty nice music.

herzausstein

#18

herzausstein said:

they should refashion the old mario paint game for the wii U. Gamepad is the perfect controller for this.

RetrogamerFan

#22

RetrogamerFan said:

I think this is way better than Picross-e or it's sequel in terms of content and value for money. It has loads more puzzles (296 in total), puzzles up to 25*20 in size, and then the Mario theme is quite charming. Controls are good too, loving playing this on the gamepad.

GBLUIGI

#23

GBLUIGI said:

I agree with a couple of gamers on this thread about wanting to see this game come to the Wii U eShop in the US. I too have played Mario's Picross from the GAME BOY on the 3DS VC and felt like I just couldn't get enough of the game. Really good game too if I might add. ;) I wouldn't mind if this game didn't have any english subtitles or not seeing as how for 1, I would enjoy playing a different game like Mario's Super Picross if they ever do release this over in North America. Come on NOA, what are you waiting for and get this game imported to the Wii U eShop so we too can enjoy this game ourselves also.

KiwiPanda

#25

KiwiPanda said:

I'm well into the original, and I enjoy it, although this wouldn't be a day-one buy, for me- if it comes to the States, it'll loiter around for a good few months until a gloomy day comes around and I'm in need of some fresh new picross. Not to say I don't care for this coming over, it's something I'd still enjoy seeing in the Wii U's shop.

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