Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Picross 3D

Picross 3D

Spring 2011 Video Games
Ages: All Ages
Price: $19.99
Gaming System: Nintendo DS

For anyone looking to activate their brain cells, this new 3D version of the original 2D Picross-an outstanding game itself-is packed with more than 350 reasoning and logic brainteaser that are fun and challenging.

The format is block grids and numbers. The thinking process is not unlike Minesweeper mixed with Sudoku, except in 3D. Puzzlers determine which cubes in each puzzle structure should be removed or saved to reveal the "object" within the puzzle. That decision is based on numerical clues indicating how many blocks in a row, from zero to the entire row, need to be saved. If it's zero, for instance, using the stylus, you "smash" the useless cubes.

Play gets even trickier. There are circled number clues that indicate a number of blocks you should keep minus one in the mix. And there's a "slicer" tool that gives you a glimpse inside some of the most complicated puzzles-and some of them are quite complicated. Oh, and did we mention your puzzling is timed with a countdown clock?

The puzzles are organized by difficulty, forcing players to work their way through the easiest to the hardest-which is probably a good thing since these puzzles get pretty challenging. Thanks to the start-up tutorial, players get a long lesson in how to master this game. And players who do master it can move on to creating their own cubic puzzles and sharing them online, putting Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection in action.

If all of this gets a little blocky in its graphics, the underlying value of Picross 3D is in the puzzle-solving, mind-activating process. Puzzlers beware: this is addictive.

Don Oldenburg   ©2011 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Nintendo of America
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