mario’s picross is a somewhat rare game that i’ve been playing for a while. the game is divided into three groups of 64 puzzles (for you folks at home keeping track, that is indeed a total of 192 puzzles), and i was well on my way to finishing the first group when i lost my GBA on a flight through ohio. so if anyone out there found one a few months ago, that was MINE.
anyway, after having to track down another copy of the game, i finally finished the first group and will be taking a break from it for a while. although released in 1995, nowadays the game is most often compared to the now more famous sudoku, although unlike sudoku this game requires a smidge of math. like sudoku, once you figure out the logic behind the puzzles each new puzzle is fairly mindless to complete, but it does provide a good diversion for long plane rides. overall i’d say the game is marginally more entertaining then sudoku: there’s something uniquely fun about uncovering the picture one square at a time, which in this version of the game is nicely set up under the conceit of mario as archeologist, armed with a chisel and working away at a piece of stone.
after several iterations that were not released in the US, nintendo’s picross series has gotten a lot more attention recently with the release of picross DS which apparently includes puzzles from mario’s picross and also has the added features of downloadable content and the ability for you to create your own puzzles to exchange with others. i’m going to be working my way through this original version for a while, but no doubt i’ll wind up with my own copy of the DS version at some point. here’s the link to ign’s review of picross DS if you’re interested.
all in all a solid title and, depending on your need to be an obsessive completist, worth playing as a retro B&W game boy title, otherwise you’re definitely going to be fine skipping to the DS version. there’s a complete FAQ for mario’s picross at IGN, although you prob. won’t need it.