GBAtemp Recommends: Mario's Super Picross

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Many of us find ourselves holed up in their homes, whether it’s because the weather is starting to turn cold, or worldwide circumstances dictate that staying inside is for the best. Fortunately, inside is a great place to play video games, be it new or old. So, for those that have never heard of the name, or for those who have long since become acquainted with the game, let’s take some of our free time to look at the new-old Mario’s Super Picross in the latest issue of GBAtemp Recommends.

Mario’s Picross is hardly a new game, having been released for the original Game Boy all the way back in 1995. However, its sequel--released in Japan that same year--Mario’s Super Picross has only just managed to make its way Stateside this September, 25 years later. Having only heard the term Picross in passing, being vaguely curious about what exactly it was, combined with the boredom of what was available in the Nintendo Switch Online SNES library, I decided to try Mario’s Super Picross on a whim.

And it was entirely worth the two hours I unknowingly spent, hooked on solving little number puzzles of varying difficulty.

It should be noted that Mario’s Super Picross is untranslated and entirely in Japanese, but fortunately, the rules of Picross are simple to understand, and require no knowledge of any language in order to figure them out. There is an odd prompt you will get at the start of each puzzle, but it’s a simple question asking you whether you’d like a hint to start your puzzle-solving off with. Once you figure out which of the Japanese characters mean “yes” and “no”, you’ll effectively have mentally translated all the words present in Mario’s Super Picross. Easy!

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The game is packed to the brim with puzzles of varying difficulties, starting with tiny 5x5 grid levels, and eventually advancing up to far more complex 25x20 puzzles. The early levels let you learn the rules to Picross without throwing you in the deep end, constantly introducing you to new tricks that you’ll need to learn in order to solve the more challenging puzzles that you’ll run into later on.

There’s something downright charming about the aesthetic of Mario’s Super Picross. For whatever reason, Mario is clad in full archaeologist gear, and you, the player, are using a hammer and chisel to carve out each spot on the stone-tablet Picross board. It doesn’t really make sense, but it honestly doesn’t have to--it’s got style enough to make it stand out, all the same. However, it is slightly disappointing that despite having Mario slapped onto the box and title of the game, the puzzles aren’t Super Mario or even Nintendo themed. Most of the puzzle solutions are either kanji symbols, or random objects, like a dolphin, dinosaur, or cat. A lot of them are very Japanese as well, with later levels having you solve puzzle outlines that look like an ancient samurai “Kabuto” helmet, a Daruma doll, Mount Fuji, and more.

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After you clear the first world of beginner puzzles, you'll unlock not only other Mario levels, but an entire section of Wario levels as well. Mario's stages are welcoming; they have hints, the game tells you when you make a mistake, and you have a timer counting down that goes faster with every mistake. In the Wario levels, the player is left to their own devices. This is for the experienced Picross player, who doesn't need hints, and has to solve puzzles with their own logic--the game won't help you anymore. These levels, while difficult, are fun challenges for skilled players. It also brings the game's puzzle count to just under 300, which is a staggering amount.

Picross has since seen many iterations and Nintendo-branded variations in the more than two decades since Mario’s Super Picross originally released. There have been entries on the DS that have touch-screen support, or Pokemon-themed releases on the 3DS, but their core gameplay always remains accessible and fun. Whether you like to play on the TV, or on the go, it’s a fantastic addition to the Nintendo Switch Online library, and is absolutely worth checking out if you haven’t already.

We hope you enjoyed this edition of GBAtemp Recommends. If you'd like to see more, leave your feedback in the thread below or check out our previous articles.



TAGS: [GAME=/game/marios-super-picross.80174]Mario's Super Picross[/GAME]
 

AmandaRose

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It's been a while since I have actually agreed with the choice of game for GBAtemp Recommends. The Picross games are awesome. My favourite one is My Nintendo Picross: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess but all of them are great puzzle games.
 

Taleweaver

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Picross... Nonograms... Griddler... This puzzle goes by many names, but regardless, they are engaging, challenging and fun. More so than other puzzles, they also reward you with a sweet picture you'll unlock as you go.

I'm not sure if I've played through the snes version, but I can easily thumbs up the review regardless. :)
 

Issac

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Picross is one of my absolute favourite puzzles, and this is absolutely worth playing. I have to say that the DS and 3DS games have spoilt me a little bit with the stylus input. But that's just something I think of for a short while until I get totally involved in the game again. :)

I might add that there are 3D picross for the DS and 3DS too that makes you think in a whole new way, which is very interesting too!
 

Hells Malice

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For the longest time I didn't think picross would be fun but then I played it with Chary and had a blast. We played it all night. Never expected to enjoy it so much. They're very fun puzzles. Even the ancient games like this one still play well.
 
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Worldblender

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This review sparked me to see if there exists a free/open-source alternative, even if under a different name, and I did find one. Hooray! :toot: The particular one I found is Picmi, one of the various KDE games (but this desktop environment is not required). It normally can be installed on most Linux distros (and maybe Windows, since some KDE programs have received Windows ports) The screenshot below should be similar enough to the games presented in this review, but without the problems associated with console exclusives, and to a larger extent, proprietary software in general. Better yet, it's also 100% free as in cost; no need to pay for a console, online subscription, or separate download.
picmi.png
 
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My introduction to the Picross was on the 3DS platform and it made sense that a game like this would be played with a Stylus.
The Switch does have a Capacitive Touch Screen and one could use traditional controllers per the original SNES format, so I assume people will find a play style that is enjoyable for them, especially if this is their introduction to the franchise.

Unfortunately, I find it hard to make that leap, but thankfully both the 3DS and NDS platforms have enough Picross fun to compensate.
That said, this article does make me wonder about the future of Etrian Odyssey on the Switch, as it has the opposite of Picross' history and starts from a Stylus-oriented, split-screen interface.

I'm hesitant to consider how much fingering it'll take to play it on this current handheld ...
 

Shawn ShyGuy

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This game has been my favorite SNES "hidden gem" for a bit, and I'm glad it's finally getting some recognition. I just hope that recognition doesn't shoot up the prices of carts before I can import again, lol

But absolutely, anyone who likes the SNES version should also check out the couple that came out on GameBoy, as well as the unreleased Pokemon Picross, if you can get your hands on any of them
 
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