Picross S Namco Legendary Edition Review - Screenshot 1 of 3
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

It’s been rough out there for poor Picross fans during this generation, as they’ve been cruelly starved for content with only 23 game releases on Switch (if you count the 'e' series) that offer up a paltry sum of over 5,000 puzzles to solve. Those puzzles aren’t even all original either—if you really want to be pedantic, the Mega Picross puzzles are usually repeats.

But it’s all going to be okay now. After the success of a Sega-themed Picross S Genesis & Master System Edition release a few years ago, Jupiter has now committed to another crossover, this time borrowing from Namco’s extensive arcade history with Picross S Namco Legendary Edition. What does this mean for you? Well, it’s another few hundred puzzles to complete, but this time some of them might have Pac-Man characters.

Shockingly enough, the gameplay this time around is virtually indistinguishable from how it’s always been. You fill in the tiles you’re supposed to fill, cross off the ones you’re not, and eventually the grid you’re faced with turns into a pixel art facsimile of something. Right from the boot, there’s a selection of four different ‘modes’ to try out: Picross, Mega Picross, Color Picross, and Clip Picross. Just like before, each of these is based on the same fundamental rules of logic and deduction, with minor tweaks to the formula that offer just enough variation to justify the different designations. Nothing new to see here, but then again, what more did you expect?

Picross S Namco Legendary Edition Review - Screenshot 2 of 3
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

Luckily, the various quality of life and extra features that have been added over the years with previous releases are all present and correct here, making this one of the most approachable Picross releases to date. You have options like touch controls or a helpful stepwise rewind feature to make the experience that much more approachable, and if your fellow lads at the rooftop party want in on the high-octane action, you can pass them a Joy-Con or three for some good ol’ fashioned co-opetition where you all play at once and battle to see who can fill in the most squares. Picross may not have changed much over the years, but we must say, it has never felt smoother or more feature-rich.

Naturally, the main selling point is that the content of the puzzles here isn’t just random household objects and animals, but various characters and sprites from Namco’s arcade backlog. So, you’ll see the likes of Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Mappy, and more as you work your way through the pages of puzzles, with a helpful extra bit of text on completion sharing which game each sprite you uncover is from. There are plenty of obscure references here that Namco’s oldest and most ardent fans will no doubt appreciate, but much like every other Picross game, anybody with an interest in solving some puzzles can find lots to enjoy—you don’t have to be a huge Namco fan to get sucked into the addictive gameplay.

Picross S Namco Legendary Edition Review - Screenshot 3 of 3
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

To help jazz up the experience a little bit from the much more chill and refined approach of the mainline games, Picross S Namco Legendary Edition embraces a more retro aesthetic as various animated sprites from Namco’s catalogue roam the screen behind the nonograms you solve. And as you’re working your way through, there’s a small selection of jaunty 8-bit tunes you can play to offer a peppier experience than the standard Picross S release. Though the music can get a little grating (especially on those 15-20 minute puzzles), we appreciated the effort towards making this release stand out a bit from Jupiter’s typical offering.

Conclusion

If Picross historically hasn’t been your cup of tea, there is absolutely nothing in Picross S Namco Legendary Edition that’s going to change your mind. Much like the last 10 or so releases in Jupiter’s never-ending puzzle series, this is effectively little else than an extensive level pack that should offer another 20 to 30 hours of puzzles to solve—only this time around it’s Namco stuff that you’re uncovering. But let’s be real, what else did this release need to be? Picross is already just about as highly polished as it can be, and the introduction of too many supplemental mechanics would just come off as gimmicky. Picross S Namco Legendary Edition isn’t designed to be anything to blow you away, then. It's simply another great entry in an exhaustively lengthy series. If Picross is your thing, this one is definitely worth a look.