With the rebirth of Club Nintendo and the launch of games on smart devices with Miitomo, Nintendo has entered a new era of entertainment. The Nintendo NX is on the horizon, while the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS are on their way out, but for one of their new titles, Nintendo’s going all the way back to the world of pen-and-paper. For 1000 Platinum Points, My Nintendo members can purchase My Nintendo Picross: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Beyond having two colons in the title (I mean, who does that?), is the game memorable in any way, or is this title just a filler release for fans of nonograms?
Jupiter Corporation has released more than a half-dozen Picross-branded titles on the eShop for the 3DS, years after starting strong with titles such as Mario Picross on the Game Boy. Although that title didn’t do particularly well in America, Japan received two sequels. Most recently, the Picross brand gained some attention for a free-to-start title, Pokémon Picross. While it’s a nice adventure, supplying players with a chance to work on puzzles with Nintendo’s pocket monsters and adding unique aides in helping solve, the game’s hounded by the inevitable need to spend real-world money to beat the game while your interest still remains.
This title goes the opposite route,with nearly a back-to-basics approach. There’s 45 puzzles which can be solved with either regular Picross skills or with the Mega Picross gameplay design, which combines two rows into one “mega” row that is, in theory, a bit harder to clear. Don’t mistake this for meaning there’s 90 puzzles; there are only 45, but each are doubled. Beyond these is a “Micross” puzzle that combines many smaller Picross puzzles into one giant pastiche.
The Pokémon edition added unique elements involving the little monsters; select them for your team, players were able to reveal giant batches of the puzzle, pause time, and other elements that actually made solving significantly-hard puzzles notably easier, but it didn’t feel like a cheat. It was a way to complete the game using the skills acquired. It’s not hard to imagine how this element could be added to a Zelda-themed game, given how the franchise is heavily based on the concept of acquiring new items to adventure forth. For example, gaining a hookshot allows Link to propel himself from one area to another. Once you complete an image of a hookshot, using it to, say, shoot three rows clear of spots would be a logical (and functional) improvement.
Instead, the game literally presents you with 45 regular and 45 Mega Picross puzzles, allowing one to select whichever one they want to start with. You don’t use rupees to buy new puzzles or defeat bosses to open new areas; this is literally just a Zelda skin to a regular Picross game. Once you beat the puzzles and, therefore, the game, you’re given a simple congratulatory screen, alongside adding your total puzzle solution time on the main screen (completing puzzles quicker will reduce your total time on the title).
This doesn’t particularly make it a bad game. If you want puzzles, you’ve got puzzles, but you can beat the game in a casual few hours without much struggle, especially if you’re used to the franchise. If you’re not, Midna supplies a (sadly unskippable) idea of how the game works via a tutorial at the beginning of each mode.
The game has a Zelda skin applied to it, but only focuses on the titular Twilight Princess. While it would be ever-obvious to replicate the sprite art of the early games in here, everything is a pixel-fied version of the Gamecube/Wii original. The music is soothing sounds from the franchise, and the puzzle field takes a forest green design that actually makes some of the grid lines hard to read.
For fans of Picross, it’s a good enough usage of the 1000 Platinum Points you likely accrued over the course of a week, but definitely could not stand alone as a retail game. There’s potential there, and it’s a shame that Jupiter didn’t take any aspects of their recent branded experience to heart. Mega Picross continues to be a weak excuse to extend the puzzle selection, but for the grand cost of “pretty much free,” it’s hard to go wrong for a few hours of puzzle-solving without having to put on iron boots to survive water temples.