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Old 07-17-2010, 05:42 PM   #1
brandonbales
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Please Rate this Review: Picross 3D Second Opinion

Block Like a Man


High: You gotta love the ‘click’ that happens when dozens of minutes of frustration give way to a natural, logical conclusion.

Low: Please play me a different song on this next puzzle!

WTF: My insurance provider doesn’t see Picross-related carpal tunnel syndrome as a viable reason for treatment.




Nintendo of America hates you. Well, they hate me at least. Someone somewhere knew that I would stalk my local games shop weeks before the official release of Picross 3D to get my mitts on a copy as soon as it hit shelves. They knew I’d pour hours and hours and hours into this tiny cartridge – slumping over my DS like it’s about to fuse with my frontal lobe. They knew my OCD tendencies would ignore the muscle pains and blurry eyes of extended play just to crack through one more puzzle…. Ack.

Never mind their intentions, they’ve made Picross 3D the most addictive game I’ve played in many years.

Brian’s review was right-on in how wonderfully the developer, HAL Laboratories, has implemented the transition from flat grid-like puzzles of the previous incarnations (including 2007’s Picross DS) to easily-manipulated sets of 3D cubes. The few picross fans out there will be quite happy with how smoothly the new system works. Puzzle fans new to the series who like number-based games like sudoku will be quickly taken in by the simplicity of the concept and satisfied by its logical progression in difficulty. With a few basic rules to master, the game ever so slowly ramps up to get bigger, badder, and more confounding, but more deliciously satisfying than even sudoku. See, unlike sudoku, Picross 3D’s puzzle structure is so elegant that all guesswork and “trying out” is absent in favor of straight-up logic.

Presentation, too, has come a long way since the very basic look of Picross DS. With more colors, more options, and charming animations for each puzzle, this new iteration is much easier to love, and will hopefully reach out a little better to Joe Gamer. It’s worth noting, too, that there are more than just one music track to listen to, unlike in Picross DS. Honestly, though, the music here could use a little more shuffling. When playing ten puzzles of the same rank in a row, players are likely to hear the same song loop a hundred times…

That said, my only other complaint was similar to Brian’s. The game does in fact lock out all difficulties except Easy from the beginning, not allowing players who spent weeks with Picross DS instant access to the more challenging fare. In retrospect, however, I relished every Easy and Medium-level puzzle as I played them, all the while anticipating the harder selections to come. I also believe that this decision serves to really ingrain certain techniques that serve one well once the Hard puzzles are accessed.

Finally, Picross 3D is not without intense levels of frustration. Incredibly, however, each extended period of brow-furrowing during my playthrough gave way to an “a-ha!” moment completely rooted in logic and reason – every time. That these moments kept coming again and again when I had completely given up on anything but guessing my next “move” is a testament to the inherent simplicity and excellence of this game.

Nintendo has also at this time released over 200 additional downloadable puzzles for those who have burned through the 300+ puzzles included – some even player-created. That already makes the game a great value, especially at $20. Puzzle fans: buy this game!

Bravo! My thanks go out to NoA for continuing to take risks on this franchise. More please!


Rating: 9 out of 10.


Disclosures: This game was obtained via retail, and 70 hours were devoted to its completion.

Last edited by brandonbales; 08-02-2010 at 01:31 PM. Reason: I took feedback and made some great revisions!
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:36 PM   #2
frogofdeath
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Picross 3D Second Opinion

Hey Brandon,
I think you have a good start for this second opinion, but there are a few areas that I would look to edit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by brandonbales View Post
See, I’ve always been more of a logic puzzle man than a crossword puzzle kinda guy. When sudoku came to the States for the first time, I was pretty jazzed about it for quite some time. Picross as a game tickles that same sort of area in one’s brain. The simple puzzle structure starts out with a few basic rules to master, and ever so slowly ramps up to get bigger, badder, more confounding, but oh, so much more deliciously satisfying. All guesswork and “trying out” is absent in favor of straight-up logic.
This paragraph has good points, but feels like it needs rewording. Try rephrasing your first few points, maybe join some of the sentences. As of now, all the sentence follow the same basic formula and this detracts the reader from what is being said.
Quote:
Well, as Brian said in his review, the 3D in this new version works to make the game much fuller and (hopefully) more appealing to Joe Gamer. The flat-ness has given way to three-dimensional, gray blocks that become smaller and more colorful as you easily “sculpt” out their hidden shapes.
I may have to re-read my review, but I would be careful of using too many words/phrases that weren't in the original review when referencing the source. Some variety is good, but explain what you mean by "fuller" and "more appealing". This can be related to the original review, but I don't think you have backed it up fully quite yet.
Quote:
Brian was right-on in his review that the game is an overstuffed Christmas stocking of a game. The reason, then, to write a second opinion on this game for GC is that this game deserves praise; and it deserves to be purchased by any semi-interested puzzle fan.
Honestly, I wouldn't include this paragraph. Maybe try rewording it or including parts in other paragraphs. However, not sure you even need to do that.
Quote:
In fact, my only major complaints were similar to Brian’s. The game does in fact lock out all difficulties except "Easy" from the beginning, not allowing players who spent weeks with Picross DS instant access to the more challenging fare. In retrospect, however, I relished every "Easy" and "Medium"-level puzzle as I anticipated the harder selections to come. I also believe that this decision serves to really ingrain certain techniques that serve one well once the “Hard” puzzles are accessed.
I like how you elaborated on this topic and not just because you agree with me! I barely mentioned this in my review and I think you point out some good aspects of this type of progression (though I still am not too keen on it).
Quote:
Finally, Picross 3D is not without intense levels of frustration. What’s truly magical, though, is how each extended period of brow-furrowing has every time given way to an “a-ha!” moment completely rooted in logic and reason. That these moments have popped-up time and again when I had completely given up on anything but guessing my next “move” is a testament to the inherent simplicity and excellence of this game.
I think this paragraph is where your writing really shines. Your writing has character and voice that makes it easy to read. Your voice peeks through in other parts of the review, but does so fully here. Write more of your review like this and it would really stand-out.

One minor thing, avoid using quotations too much; around "a-ha!" is fine, but not need around "move". There were a couple other parts in the review where I found the quotations unnecessary.
Quote:
Disclosures: This game was acquired from retail, and approximately 50 hours of play were devoted to its completion.
Wow! 50 Hours!? I haven't even reached puzzle 300 yet!

Overall, I think you have a good start. I would like to see more of your writing style throughout the entire review like the one paragraph I pointed out. I hope this helps. Let me know if I need to clarify anything.
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:32 PM   #3
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Picross 3D Second Opinion

Brian,

Thanks for the feedback. I hope you like the revisions I've made to the piece. Thanks!

Brandon
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:04 PM   #4
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Picross 3D Second Opinion

Nice job on the edits.

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Old 08-19-2010, 07:12 PM   #5
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Picross 3D Second Opinion

Green fro me as well. Nice work.
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:07 PM   #6
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Picross 3D Second Opinion

I know this isn't timely, but I recently returned to work and haven't really been keeping up with the forums.

Looks good to me!
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Old 09-18-2010, 05:30 AM   #7
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Picross 3D Second Opinion

Submission posted.
http://www.gamecritics.com/brandon-b...second-opinion
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