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Mario’s Picross – Game Boy

Mario’s Picross – Game Boy

250px-USA_MP_FrontPlatform: Game Boy

Release Date (NA): March 1995

Developer: Jupiter Corporation

Publisher: Nintendo

Genre: Puzzle

Nerd Rating: 7 out of 10

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe_06


This review was originally supposed to be my triumphant return to the world of Game Boy Color games with a review of Super Mario Bros. Deluxe…of course, there were some issues with that. And thus I decided to turn my attention to some Mario games that the Bacon doesn’t already have….puzzle games! And I admit, I was a little apprehensive at first to pick up Mario’s Picross, since I’ve never played a picross game before, but this game is user-friendly enough to help me go from zero to Picross-ing champ within a few days of playing it.

1448633648037If you’ve never heard of Picross, well, I’m not surprised. Picross is a type of nonogram logic puzzle in which players use number sets to uncover images from (at least in this game) a square grid. On the top and left side of each puzzle are sets of numbers indicating how many blocks are used in each row and column for said image, which reminds me of the Mindsweeper-esque mini-game from Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver

For example, a column might have “5” above it, which means five blocks in that column are part of the solution. As the puzzles get more complicated, you’ll start to see groupings of numbers like “5 2 5” which simply means that there are 12 blocks in the column or row that are part of the solution, but they’re split apart into three sections. I suppose it doesn’t sound too appealing when I describe it, but once archeologist Mario teaches you, it becomes addicting.

1448646701382Mario’s Picross‘ 256 puzzles are split into sets of 64 across four game modes. You start the game with two of which; Easy Picross and Kinoko unlocked and can be played in any order. If you’re new to Picross, I’d recommend starting at the first Easy Picross puzzle and working your way up. The puzzles in Easy Picross are arranged in such a way that the difficulty slightly builds by row. The rows build from solving letter-based patterns, to simple shapes, to complex images such as Locomotives and Hourglasses. By the last row, the puzzles are at the same level as your average Kinoko puzzle.

I decided to start on some of the Kinoko Course after I finished up the majority of Easy Picross, and found that the Kinoko Course puzzles were about the same difficulty all-around, unlike Easy Picross. I found completing the Kinoko Course to be much easier than that of the Easy Picross, but that was probably due to the ramped difficulty of the prior course.

Once players complete all 64 puzzles in the Kinoko Course, they unlock the other regular Picross course; the Star Course. The images in the Star Course are a little more complex than their Kinoko counterparts, but once again, with practice and patience, they aren’t too difficult to breeze through. The final mode, Time Trial, is where the difficulty hump comes in.

Time Trial, being unlocked after completing the Star Course, plays by a different set of rules than the prior modes. In this mode, players are randomly given one of the 64 remaining puzzles, without any time limit or hints. In addition to that, minutes aren’t docked for scraping the wrong squares, as the game doesn’t even let you know if you made a mistake. In this mode, players have to be observant of any patterns they see in the image solution in order to minimize mistakes. Some of these are obvious, such as those of the Mario cameo characters, which some are less so…

1448646991703I managed to blow through the entirety of this game in a couple days. Honestly, Mario’s Picross is a pretty damn fun game, which surprises me that it failed to sell well in North America and Europe. Therefore, the second Mario’s Picross and Super Famicom versions featuring Wario vs Mario never made it out of Japan. Although, the second Mario’s Picross should be playable with minimal knowledge of Japanese (considering the puzzles are all numbers and images).

So if you find a copy of Mario’s Picross sitting around and have a few hours to kill, I think it’s definitely worth picking up to try.

Written by Doc Croc

Doc Croc aka Kelly is Nerd Bacon’s Editor-in-Chief and resident narcoleptic. In the off-chance she isn’t already asleep, you can find her here at the Bacon!


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  1. Haha Cube! Minesweeper. I loved that damn game for passing time. Kinda like doing a crossword puzzle or something.

    But anyway, this is one of those weird puzzle games that i’ve always heard of but never got around to playing. Cool review Doc!

  2. For a long time I thought this was like, Minesweeper on the Game Boy. But it actually sounds kinda cool…wonder why I don’t have this yet…


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