Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Retro Review Tuesday: Mario's Picross

So lately I've been playing a lot of Picross on the DS and it made me reflect on it's predecessor which is why I decide to do this review this week.

Mario's picross is really a hidden gem, it's seen as cult favorite, but it wasn't received well in the US when it came out. Which is really a shame as it's one of the most fun hand held puzzle games to grace the gameboy. For me it's really right up there with Tetris, I could easily pick it up and play it just about anytime.


Like most puzzle games the plot line is a bit thin, Mario is an archaeologist who's searching for the pictographs by slowly chiseling away at stone to reveal the pictures. It's simply a series of nonogram (logic puzzles involving a grid with numbers for every row and column), with loose Mario theming.

Controls are simple it's a Gameboy game so there's not much to worry about. You chisel stones by pressing A, you make an X were you shouldn't chisel by pressing B and you move around the grid with the D pad.
If you can manage to hit this a mushroom or flower might pop out.
Graphically it's fairly nice for an original Gameboy game from 1995. Though most of what you see graphically are borders and menus screens as the bulk of the game is the graphs you fill in. It's worth mentioning that I took screenshots via an emulated super Gameboy so it's in color, but if you'd played it in a normal Gameboy it obviously wouldn't be.

Musically, it's so-so. Like many puzzle games you get a section of background tracks to choose from. They're likable enough and make for fine puzzle completion music, but none of them are as noteworthy or interesting as those found in games like Dr. Mario or Tetris. The sounds themesleves are pretty sparse, but serviceable.


I'd like to know why this was translated Kinoko instead of mushroom since the star isn't Sutā

The game divides puzzles into 4 categories, Easy, Kinoko, Star, and Time Trial. Each category consists of 64 puzzles. The puzzles start at 5x5 grids and moves up to 15x15 grids. The puzzles increase in complexity as you move forward.

Ahhh yes the classic an much beloved Mario back hoe

All you have to do is match the numbers on the grid to corresponding points in the puzzle and chisel out a spot when you find it. It's one of those cases where anyone can learn how to do it, but it hard to master. If you try to chisel a spot where there should be a space you get a time penalty, the penalty goes up depending on how many wrong answers you get. The first wrong answer is -2 minutes, the second is -4 minutes etc. with a max of an 8 minute penalty per mistake. You only have 30 minutes to do these puzzles in so getting a lot of silly mistakes can end your game quite quickly.You also get the option to take a hint in the beginning which will fill both a horizontal and and vertical line correctly this doesn't dock tine and is extremely useful in the larger more difficult puzzles. If you get stuck you can strategically "try out" a spot (preferably one that will help guide you to plot multiple points) you run the risk of losing time, but it often quicker than several rounds of endless speculation in tough spot.

If it take you the full half hour to make this letter R this is probably not the game for you.
You can start off in either easy picross or just picross where you can select the first normal class, Kinoko (the Japanese word for mushroom). The easy picross puzzles are as you would expect, quite easy. They do move up to 15 x 15 grids, but aren't very complex. The Kinoko puzzles are all a 15x15 grid and are much more complex than the easy puzzles. After completing all 64 of the Kinoko puzzles you'll unlock the Star catergory which has even more complex puzzles.

The first three classes, Easy, kinoko and Star all work in the way described above. The time trial class however, works differently. First you have to have sucessfully completed all 192 of the previous puzzles before you can unlock it. Second, there isn't a time limit, the time just counts up as you work towards completion. The final difference is, you are not told when you make a wrong answer, this may seem nice at first as you don't have to worry about losing, but is actually quite a challenge. If you make a mistake you usually won't know until after it's potentially ruined your entire puzzle.

Overall it's a lot more addicting that it sounds via descriptions and with a total of 256 puzzles you'll have hours of fun with it. Even after you've managed to beat them all, you time totals are stored so you an always try to get better and better times, in time trial mode you can even enter your initials for posterity.

Mario is proud of your ability to make everyday objects our of squares


As I said earlier this one of those games that's easy to learn, but takes a long time to master. It's easy to pick up and play, but you can easily spend hours with it. The logic is easy enough for a child to follow but more than complex enough to keep an adult entertained for hours. If your a fan of games that make you think, puzzles and logic, this is a perfect game for you.


Don't forget to stop by our shop:

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails