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Review: Picross e8 (Nintendo 3DS)By JunkSnail At 08.06.2018 23:48

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For those who have somehow managed to avoid Picross mania up to this point, a brief explanation: it's based on the nonogram brand of logic puzzles, in which the player is given an empty grid with rows of numbers dotted around the outside; these numbers provide hints as to how many and which blocks in a particular row or column can be shaded in. Eventually, after following all the clues, the shaded blocks form a picture.

It's a fairly simplistic concept that can be taken to certain extremes, and the Picross e series is an excellent demonstration of this - each entry starts with particularly easy 5x5 grids that can be solved in a matter of seconds, before progressing into 20x15 behemoths by the end of its multitude of levels. That's not to mention the other modes on offer: Mega Picross introduces number hints that encompass multiple columns or rows to enhance the difficulty, while Micross complicates matters by hiding a bigger picture across multiple smaller Picross grids, removing the more striking visual clues.

Across the three modes, there's a ridiculous amount of content on offer in Picross e8, with around 500 puzzles there to really eat away at players' spare time. It's certainly an admirable amount of playtime to fit into one download, but that's also its own downfall, as the game can easily become incredibly repetitive, with very few visual or audio options to break down the monotony of hearing the same handful of tracks five hundred times.

Nowhere will this ring more true than with those who have already had their fill of Picross e through Picross e7. Excluding other (somewhat more intriguing) spin-offs on the same system, this is now the eighth instalment of a series that is rapidly becoming a victim of its own overexposure, with no valuable additions to the core mechanics since Picross e4. All of this means that e8 feels a lot more like a level pack than it does a standalone game, and those expecting a real evolution from this sequel would be best to look elsewhere at games like Picross 3D: Round 2 and the Switch's Pic-a-Pix Deluxe.

Ultimately, Picross e8 is a completely adequate addition to the existing Picross library, and its depth of content is certainly not to be sniffed at, but its production feels just as sterile and soulless as its stiff, metallic aesthetic would have you expect. Existing puzzle fans will enjoy this, but those who have yet to be converted certainly won't have their minds changed by this rinse-and-repeat sequel.

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Final Score
There's nothing inherently wrong with [i]Picross e8[/i] itself, but it belongs to a series that is fast beginning to outstay its welcome; unless developer Jupiter can find a way to really shake up the staling formula, it's perhaps only fair to call time on the 3DS leg of the series at this point.



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