The third dimension changed gaming forever and in the last generation the very popular Picross franchise moved from 2D to 3D with great success. Now it’s time for a sequel on Nintendo’s handheld that has been designed specifically for that extra dimension in mind. Can they inject some interest or is this puzzler stuck in a cube-shaped box?
Can you math?
As with the original Picross 3D game on the DS you have one simple task: Discover shapes hidden inside blocks of cubes. To determine which cubes to chip away at each cube comes with a coloured number attached to it. As you might have gathered by now you have to deal with two colours and not just one in this sequel, and it changes everything up.
[pullquote_right]If by chance you studied Technical Drawing at school you’ll have a good understanding at the way you’ll tackle each puzzle[/pullquote_right]It’s your task to highlight cubes to slowly but surely reveal the hidden shape hidden. Having a good understanding of basic mathematics can assist you in solving each puzzle as you’ll be dealing with lots of numbers from various angles, along with a twist here and there. For example – if there is a row of four cubes with the number ‘4’ displayed at the end of that row all the cubes can be highlighted. Should the same row of four cubes have the number ‘3’ displaying you can highlight the two middle blocks, as you’ll be unsure which of the two blocks at the end of each row should be highlighted. This is where your touch screen and stylus really comes into play.
So simple, yet so complicated
On the bottom screen you can view the block from any angle using the stylus. If by chance you studied Technical Drawing at school you’ll have a good understanding at the way you’ll tackle each puzzle as you’ll attempt each block from three directions. At the end of each block you’ll also find red or blue arrows. Tap and drag these arrows and you can move to any row that’s hidden towards the middle of the block. This becomes important because not only will you have rows of cubes with a number at each end, but you’ll also have to deal with various symbols that completely throw the rules on its head.
Should a number have a circle shape around it it means that the cubes are split into two parts. So, if the number ‘4’ is displayed at the end of a row of five cubes, with a circle around the number, it means that the cubes have a ‘3-1’ or ‘2-2’ split. One of the five cubes will be chipped away and it won’t be a cube at the end row as it can’t be connected to each other. It gets more complicated. Should that circle change into a square it means the row of cubes are split several times, and should that number be a 10 (the largest number) it could be just about anything. This is why you have to cross check from all angles. They’ve also used the sequel to improve on the previous game as you can now not only highlight the cubes you’re 100% sure are part of the shape, but you can also flag a cube (it outlines the cube in either orange or blue) to highlight a colour you think it might be. Be aware, there are over 300 puzzles to get through at various difficulty settings.
[pullquote_left]There is also a fantastic tutorial that’ll help all newcomers to get grips with it, and it does a great job of explaining the additional improvements to veterans[/pullquote_left]Picross 3D: Round 2 takes place in a Café Library made up of a series of books and each volume containing several puzzles within it. To unlock more books you have to unlock a certain number of puzzles, receive a certain amount of rewards or points. Depending on your puzzle solving abilities you can either set it to easy, medium or hard. The puzzle shapes won’t change, but it’ll change the numbers located on the block to make it that much more difficult. There is also a fantastic tutorial that’ll help all newcomers to get grips with it, and it does a great job of explaining the additional improvements to veterans. It’ll take previous players some time to adapt to the D-pad directions for each colour highlight or flag. There’s also amiibo support that add puzzles, though there are only 10 amiibo supported. There really should have been much more amiibo support as any Nintendo franchise can be supported here.
Picross 3D: Round 2 is proof that puzzle games still have a place in the modern era of gaming. It is a very addictive game and it’s a must own title for fans of puzzle games. The shapes look way more impressive and advanced than the first game and if you’re after a challenge Round 2 will provide the knockout you need.