It’s rather impressive how much mileage Nintendo and Jupiter Corporation have managed to get out of the Picross franchise. The beloved number puzzle series has been going for a couple decades now, while the core gameplay all along the way has remained almost completely stagnant. Though the ‘main’ games have been entertaining enough in their own right, the most memorable releases have always been the crossovers with popular franchises. Well known IP like Pokémon, Zelda, and *checks notes* Overlord have been represented in Picross games over the years, and now the latest in this line of spinoffs has arrived with Picross S Genesis & Master System Edition. It’s absolutely nothing new, but hey, how cool is it that Sonic can be in a puzzle?
The core gameplay is exactly the same with this entry, as you’re tasked with utilizing an intimidating series of numbers to tease out a pixel art drawing. Using the numbers along the sides of the rows and columns, you systematically move through the puzzle to find areas where you can either fill in a cell or mark it off. Often, you can’t fully complete a row or column the first time you come across it, so you repeatedly must circle back to partially filled areas as you gain more information and the picture becomes more clear. Sure, it sounds about as fun as doing math homework, but Picross manages to be both relaxing and engaging once you get the hang of it, and it can be frightening how easily it draws you in for ‘one more puzzle’ for the twelfth time.
A big part of the appeal to these puzzles is simply figuring out what picture you’ve been painstakingly etching, and Picross S Genesis & Master System Edition is especially enticing due to its usage of familiar characters and things. Now, you’re not just making random pictures of pyramids or astronauts, but more recognizable things like a Puyo jelly from Puyo Puyo or the original Amy Rose from Sonic CD. Fans of Sega will obviously get more out of this release, as there are quite a few franchises represented in this collection, but even those without much knowledge of the company’s legacy IP will likely still be entertained by the expressive spritework.
There are 480 puzzles to solve in Picross S Genesis & Master System Edition and Jupiter has found some interesting ways to keep the experience feeling fresh across the many hours it takes to clear everything. 150 of the puzzles are under the ‘base’ rules, and these are then remixed into another 150 puzzles under the ‘Mega’ rules, which have some guidance numbers that span two rows or columns. Completion of some of these puzzles will unlock pieces of gargantuan ‘Clip’ puzzles, which are comprised of 50 puzzles each. Finally, there are 30 ‘Color’ puzzles, which integrate three or four different colors to add some extra challenge.
When you’re just starting out, it can be a lot to wrap your head around, but there are plenty of tutorials and starter puzzles to help you get into the rhythm. Additionally, just about every puzzle will let you use certain ‘cheat’ options that do things like highlight areas where you can fill something in, or starting the puzzle with a random row and column already filled. Each of these options can be toggled on or off at will, which gives the whole experience a nicely fluid difficulty curve that appeals to players of any skill level.
Of course, everything we’ve written thus far about the gameplay structure is applicable to almost all of the preceding entries on Switch and that’s both a great strength and weakness of Picross S Genesis & Master System Edition. Given the pedigree of the IP being borrowed, it would’ve been nice to see Jupiter go for something a little more ambitious like the semi-RPG structure of Pokémon Picross, but alas, this is ‘just’ another new level pack for the long-running series. On the other hand, nonogram gameplay never really gets old, and it’s nice to see that the puzzles are just as addictive and fun to solve as they’ve ever been.
If you know anything about the Picross franchise, then you probably already knew what to expect with this entry before even reading this review. Picross S Genesis & Master System Edition is more Picross, just with Sega characters, and… that’s about it. It feels like a bit of a missed opportunity that Jupiter didn’t try doing a little more with the IP, but it’s also tough to say no to a new batch of a few hundred Picross puzzles themed around Sega's 8 and 16-bit libraries. We’d give this one a solid recommendation, but perhaps with the caveat that those of you who already have a few entries may want to pause before buying yet another new entry in the series. Trust us, there will be more.
While the Picross series sure is getting stale, at least this one adds a healthy dose of nostalgia for many Sega fans.
Jupiter's Picross games, as a whole, are very samey.
it's a good formula, but games like Pixel Puzzle Makeout League and Murder By Numbers show that Picross can be more than picking a puzzle from a list.
"Now, you’re not just making random pictures of pyramids or astronauts, but more recognizable things like a Puyo jelly from Puyo Puyo or the original Amy Rose from Sonic CD." This sentence...I can't tell if it's sarcastic or not?
Anyway yeah this is exactly what I expected and how I expected it to be reviewed and my reaction is exactly as I expected: "N/10? Nah it's 10/10 it's more Picross!"
Many thanks for the review.
Does the reviewer know how many music tracks there are that play in-game? There were only four songs from Space Harrier, Alex Kidd, Fantasy Zone and OutRun in the eShop demo - I really hope the full game offers a broader variety of choice.
A big part of the appeal to these puzzles is simply figuring out what picture you’ve been painstakingly etching
Not for me, I am just playing to solve the puzzle and never care what the picture turns out to be.
Does it have any classic sega game theme songs in it? I’m assuming no but I think it would have been a cool addition if they did.
@Crono1973 Yeah I'm rarely trying to figure out what it is as I go, but I do like the surprise of what it is at the end. Especially when it's something painfully mundane like a roll of tape, seriously, I love that!
Colour Picross I do like to guess though, but that's mostly because the colours give a hint as to what it might be.
@AG_Awesome The demo had 4 tracks from Sega games so I assume the full game probably has more.
I love Picross, but I have decided to not buy any more Picross games until I finish the one I am on (or until a reduced price).
That said, this might be the next one I buy.
It was quite nice having some Outrun music in the demo, so looking forward to hearing more in the full game. Already paid for, just waiting for release.
EDIT: Had a brain-fart and put the completely wrong franchise in my original comment. Now corrected.
@MS7000 That is a nice change. I usually turn down the volume on regular Picross games.
This will be my 1st Picross game.I’ve always wanted to try it but there are just so many I didn’t know which one to get.Being a big fan of this era of Sega made my choice easier.
@nessisonett That is fantastic to hear!! Thank you for the info.
@Tandy255 Yeah, I am not the biggest fan of the music in the regular Picross games. Nice to have some Sega music to change it up.
@MeatSauce Same here, on all counts. 480 puzzles, eh? Let's race!
Strangely one of my most anticipated games this year. I haven't been playing many of the Picross games on Switch specifically, and I'm a big Sega fan so... I'm all in.
Every picross game has 4-5 music tracks, one for mode.
I don’t think they will add songs to the ones in the demo actually, but who knows. One day left to know.
I must say all of them are quite nice EXCEPT the Alex Kidd one. It gets annoying so fast.
Y’all should play the picross game they have on Nintendo switch online. It’s for the snes and it’s a lot of fun. Probably pretty similar to this but minus the hints. It is in Japanese so the congratulations after getting several puzzles done can’t be read by us no Japanese speakers, but the rest of the game has almost no text so it’s still playable.
It would also be nice if Jupiter used the touch screen for filling in Picross on Switch as well.
Wait, so it’s good because it’s more Picross, but your chief complaint is that it’s just more Picross?
I've played almost all the Picross games. Jupiter has a great format with lots of features, but the pictures in the puzzles are getting more and more unrecognizable (Kekono Friends, looking at you!) It may not have some of the QOL features Jupiter has, but my all-time favorite Picross games is Piczle Cross Adventure, a funny 2D RPG.
Nice, more picross is always cool, especially themed picross.
Incidentally, where on earth do people get "SAY-GUH" from when pronouncing Sega?
I actually appreciate that they don’t change things up much from game to game. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
@JSDude1 I prefer button controls, but I am surprised they still don’t have touch screen support added in.
Every Sonic Mega Drive Game, while using a sound sample derived from SEGA's 80s Japanese TV advertising: "SAY-GUH"
A stubborn Australian: "SEA-GAH"
Who will win?
Played the demo, it's definitely more Picross. I love Picross, but the thing about video games is that you can replay them. A good sudoku game has infinite replayability. A good Picross as well. And it' not like they say "it's a €2 add on", nope, it's always full Picross price. And never Picross 3D... I get that that would't work on anything slightly heavier than a 3DS with anything slightly less accurate than a stylus, but 3DS is my go to Picross system.
It's more picross, lol. These are basically the gaming equivalent of sudoku books people bought for like 10-15 a piece. People know what they're getting.
@Crono1973 Same here. It's a logic puzzle, not a guessing game. It is nice however if you can see it and guess what the title will be. Even if I KNOW what it will be, I assume that I don't, and just keep on following the game's logic.
@The_New_Butler The 3DS Picross games all have them. And the 3DS has Picross 3D (the DS had one as well if I recall correctly). For the best Picross, and the most unique one, and a Pokémon and a Zelda themed one (if that last one is still somehow available?), 3DS is the place.
@bobzbulder I’m absolutely loving Mario’s Super Picross at the minute, via Nintendo Switch Online like you said
Imagine working for Jupiter. And you thought your job was repetitive!
Thanks for the review.
I actually insta-downloaded it anyway and I can't get enough picross and the SEGA theme was a big bonus
So my wife buys the everloving crap out of these games, and someone HAS to help me understand the logic of this "just being picross" is a negative. That's what's on the box. She wants to do more picross. She doesn't want some complex picross adjacent adventure. They exist if that's your thing.
It's like buying a can of Coke because you've had Coke before and know you like it but saying "I don't know, the only thing in the can was Coke, I'm kinda disappointed"
I played over 100 hours of picross 3d round 2.
Where is Round 3?
How is "It's more Picross" a con in a PICROSS game? For someone who loves Picross that is what I'm looking for in a picross game o_O it's like saying that a Mario game is both good and bad because it's more "Mario". Well. DUH.
"Stagnant". Sure. Just like the gameplay of chess has remained "stagnant" for hundreds of years.
For a picross addict, the one simple thing that's always needed is more picross puzzles. Anything else is a bonus, or possibly an annoyance if done wrong.
I played a ton of Pokemon Picross on my 3DS before I had to re-download it for some reason and lost all my progress. Hours upon hours spread out over two or three years. I might check this one out since it seems to use the same progression system.
@kupocake @The_New_Butler It's not, though. I've been playing Sonic games on Mega Drive since I was 4 or 5, and I've always heard it as "SEH-GAH". Weird.
Nostalgia sells. And if they're including a bunch of loved 8 and 16 bit themed puzzles, you can't blame a picross fan for buying this one.
If you like the series, you know exactly what you're paying for here and I doubt fans will be disappointed in it
@The_New_Butler Picross DS had touch controls, and I always felt like that was the far inferior way to play it. The only one that made sense to me on the touch screen was Picross 3D.
@Boldfoxrd Check out Voxelgram on Steam or, I think, Switch. It isn't perfect but it's about as close as you'll get to a Round 3. It's even got nice little dioramas like Round 2 did too.
@samuelvictor Interesting. I've always heard it as "Seh-Gah", and everyone where I grew up pronounced it like that. I listened to it again, and I can definitely hear where " Say-Guh" is coming from.
Why is it still not unlocked? Does someone have to manually flick a switch somewhere?
@imgrowinglegs I much preferred stylus controls on the 3DS versions. But each to their own. Would be nice to have the option in the Switch ones.
@echo_dek oh thanks.
I just got this game and yes, if you're a Picross fan you know what you're getting.
My real issue with all the Picross games is that they're all individual games. I'd prefer if there was only one game and the puzzles, modes, music and themes of the others were added as DLC. Having individual releases is only gonna clutter my main menu.
The themed Picross games would be exempt from this, I don't have a problem with those being individual releases.
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