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Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons Review (Switch eShop)

Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons Review (Switch eShop)


Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons Review - Screenshot 1 of 3
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

Fans of Nintendo’s long-running Picross series are well aware that there’s no shortage of nonogram puzzlers on the Switch, with developer Jupiter and the Big N’s franchise alone accounting for over a dozen games and counting so far. Even so, there’s an addictive simplicity to the core concept that ensures that further entries will always be welcome, especially when they mix with popular IP like the Sega Genesis and, uh… Kemono Friends. Nintendo certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on the concept of a nonogram puzzle, either, leaving the door open for other publishers like Rainy Frog and developer Score Studio to introduce their own franchises that use the concept, such as Piczle Cross. The latest entry in the Piczle Cross series merges the timeless puzzling action with the chill vibes of the Story of Seasons franchise and though Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons isn’t exactly a revolutionary new entry in the genre, it still ticks all the boxes to provide a satisfying puzzle experience.

Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons Review - Screenshot 2 of 3
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

Gameplay in Piczle Cross could be most closely likened to a mixture of Minesweeper and sudoku puzzles, tasking the player with methodically deducing a solution by process of elimination. You’re presented with a grid that’s anywhere from 5×5 to 20×20 squares in size, with the edges of each row and column containing hint numbers that indicate how many squares you have to fill in. Which squares you need to fill in is always a mystery, however, so you need to use the hint numbers to carefully rule out which ones you can safely mark off and which need to be filled in. Puzzles can last anywhere from a few seconds to about 20 minutes apiece, with the final product always revealing some cute pixel art rendition of a random farm-related item or person.

To ensure that things stay accessible to everyone, those of you who need a little more help can activate assistance features such as automatic mistake correction or automatic highlighting of hint numbers in rows and columns where you can make progress. Those who want more of a challenge can disable any or all of these features, leaving a nice difficulty spectrum that fairly accommodates all players’ needs.

There are over 350 puzzles to complete in Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons, 270 of which are standard puzzles, and the rest of which are contained within five collage puzzles. These latter examples take much longer to complete, but are easily the most satisfying, as they’re comprised of a small series of interconnected puzzles that you do individually to build the much larger whole. Though we would’ve appreciated some take on the other modes from Nintendo’s Picross franchise here (such as Mega Picross or Color Picross), Score Studios still offers a sufficiently meaty experience that’s sure to keep you busy for several hours—especially if you want to complete everything with no assistance features activated.

Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons Review - Screenshot 3 of 3
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

Even if the content offering is similar to a standard Picross game, the gameplay experience feels just a bit jankier here. For example, there are no speed settings for the cursor, and it moves noticeably slower than we’re used to in a typical Picross game. This may seem like a nitpick, but when you’re spending hours moving that cursor back and forth across puzzle after puzzle, it starts to become really noticeable how long it takes to travel from one edge to the other, especially given its lack of touchscreen support.

Then there are little performance quirks to contend with, such as how we noticed a recurring glitch where the pre-marks on all ‘0’ rows and columns would spontaneously disappear if the beginning-of-level randomizer is on. Make no mistake, Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons is still a perfectly competent nonogram experience, but it feels a little less snappy and clean than Picross S.

Of course, one area where this release comfortably outclasses most other nonogram games is in its presentation, which makes full use of the Story of Seasons IP in some cute ways. Every puzzle is naturally based on various farm tools and crops, but we appreciated how every one completed represents another ‘day’ passing, with your farmer slowly building up a more impressive farm in the background as you progress through seasons. Couple this with features like an almanac that shares more information on characters from across the series and a soundtrack borrowing music from recent releases such as Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town and classics like Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns, and you have a puzzle game that feels well-suited to fans of both nonograms and Story of Seasons

Conclusion

Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons may not be the greatest nonogram puzzler available on the Switch, but this is certainly another worthwhile and enjoyable entry in the genre—especially for fans who also love a good farm sim. This is ultimately little more than a nonogram puzzle pack themed after Story of Seasons, but really it doesn’t need to be anything else, even if it would be interesting to see how farm sim gameplay elements could be more directly integrated into the gameplay. As long as you’re not too bothered by a game experience that feels a little less polished than the Picross series, Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons is an easy recommendation to any puzzle enthusiasts out there.





The article was first published here

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