Picross DS was an amazing game: I sunk hours and hours into it, I suspect that there were individual puzzles that I sunk more than an hour into. So I was really looking forward to Picross 3D.

Sadly (and ironically!), it’s only a shadow of its predecessor. The extra dimension should have added more possibilities to the puzzles; instead, as far as I can tell, every single puzzle in the game is solvable via a straightforward strategy of looking at a single numbered line in isolation, coloring/removing blocks based on the number on that line (taking into account whether it’s circled/squared or not, of course), changing lines, and repeating the process. In particular, you never have to consider interactions between lines, which you had to do all the time in the 2D incarnation. I say “as far as I can tell” both because I might have made a mistake on a puzzle I solved and because I gave up in boredom halfway through the “hard” puzzles; maybe there’s something more interesting waiting at the end, but, if so, they waited far too long to show it.

The interface isn’t great, either. It’s not that hard to accidentally delete a block you didn’t intend to; if you do so, there’s no way to undo that, so you have to either start the puzzle over from scratch or forgo the pleasure of solving the puzzle honestly. And, in what I assume is an attempt to compensate for the triviality of the puzzles, they have a prominent timer; I don’t mind that as an occasional variant, but not as a constant presence.

Fortunately, there are several good puzzle games available for the iPhone/iPad, so I’m not feeling puzzle-starved. But I wish this one had turned out differently.

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