Pokémon Picross – Well, It Certainly Made Me Cross…

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It looks so innocent…

I know I covered a free-to-play Pokémon game last week, but Pokémon Picross made me pretty frustrated and even makes Pokémon Shuffle look like “game of the year” material.

First, I need to explain what Pokémon Picross is all about, which could be more difficult than it sounds. The game is a cross between sudoku and a paint-by-numbers picture.This means that each level is a grid and to reveal the picture in the grid, you need to shade in particular squares.
To work out which squares you need to colour, there are numbers on two sides of the grid which tell you how many squares need to be shaded in the rows and columns.
With me so far?
By successfully completing the picture, you earn picrites which acts the game’s currency and gain the Pokémon you just drew/shaded. I enjoyed these puzzles as they are different to the majority of other puzzle games available, as well as making good use of the Nintendo 3DS. Despite this, the game does have some serious issues which we will come to.

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An example of a complete puzzle.

Pokémon play a crucial role in the game.
Apart from making the pretty pictures, each Pokémon has a skill which helps you fill in the grids. The skills depend on the Pokémon’s type and some of these skills need to be recharged between puzzles. There are even mythical Pokémon who have skills that can affect larger grid puzzles.
To keep things balanced, you are limited to how many Pokémon you can use in each attempt at a puzzle, but you can unlock more slots by spending picrites. This leads to my first issue: some of the puzzles objectives require you to have certain Pokémon skills activated or have a particular number of Pokémon in your team.
I start to get concerned when a game requires you to use the in-game currency to unlock necessary aspects of the game. This, alone, isn’t even a major issue, but the team slots aren’t the only example of arbitrary gating in Pokémon Picross.
Nintendo also want to use picrites to unlock subsequent sections of the game, of which there are 31, each with an ever increasing cost. And if you want to access Mega-evolved Pokémon, you have to pay 500 picrites to unlock the option. Then there is buying access to the Alt-World and extra upgrades the energy bar to allow you to play more puzzles in one sitting. Not too many necessary purchases…

Once you buy more than 5,000 picrites, which equates to about £30 worth of currency, you can get pictrites for free, in the store. This means you have to pay the equivalent price of a brand new Nintendo DS game to play this ‘free-to-play’ game, as it were intended.
In short, Pokémon Picross is not a true free-to-play game; its not even a pay-to-win game. It is simply a game with many pay walls.
These pay walls affected my gaming experience and actually stopped me playing this game any further than the sixth section.

The thing is, I really wanted to like this game.
I loved the pixel-art style which reminded me of the first generation Pokémon games, but the continual push to take my money really tainted the experience. I don’t think the game is worth spending £30 on because there isn’t enough content to justify the price.
If you couldn’t tell, I wouldn’t recommend this game. If you want to play a free-to-play Pokémon game, then I suggest play Pokémon Shuffle.
Avoid this game.

Pokémon Picross is available on: Nintendo 3DS.

Thero doesn’t steal other peoples Pokemon and she certainly doesn’t steal other peoples images. The first picture on this page can be found on Bulbapedia and the second picture can be found on the official Pokemon site.
Last played on 16/02/16 for Nintendo 3DS.
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