Picross picking its way on to DS
Puzzler set for May 11th European release
Honestly, brain training is the new black. Or is it brown these days? We don't know and, frankly, we don't much care – we're too busy keeping up with mind-enhancing software releases to attend international fashion shows.
In fairness, Picross DS isn't strictly a brain training title. But it is the latest in Nintendo's Touch! Generations Series (software designed for broad appeal and which includes the likes of Dr Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? and Nintendogs) and its remit is firmly focused on light puzzling entertainment.
As such, in the main Picross mode players are expected to reveal a hidden image beneath the puzzle by filling in a grid with squares and crosses in order to complete patterns.
The 300 grids on offer ensure serious longevity but also variety, not least because they range from five-by-five versions, all the way up to daunting 20-by-20 alternatives (those with tiny minds may find comfort in the revelation that clues may be obtained to help finish puzzles, as well as the option to get a head start with a roulette-style hint function that reveals a line of the puzzle).
Creative types, meanwhile, will no doubt cherish the option to create their own puzzles to test their acquaintances' mental capacity (and select their friends accordingly). Stylus in hand, puzzles of all sizes can apparently be designed, including the image hiding beneath the challenge, and once completed are then shared wirelessly or via the Wi-Fi Connection service.
And as the brightest amongst you may have already pre-empted, this also paves the way for the download of both unofficial and Nintendo-created puzzles, meaning a potentially limitless supply of fresh challenges – this is precisely what My Picross mode is for.
There's more, though. Daily Picross is perfectly suited to those looking for quick distraction-type play, providing a selection of five small-grid puzzles designed to be solved as fast as possible. Daily results are then plotted on a chart to get an idea of progress over time.
Furthermore, regular play is rewarded by new unlockable modes such as the descriptively named No Xs, Error Search and Memory. (Though not related to this mode, further unlockable items include touchscreen reaction-based mini-games and skins to enable players to customise their game environment.)
Finally, if you're brain can take it, why not engage in multiplayer competition? Multi-Picross caters for five individuals trying to beat each other and the clock to be the first to finish puzzles, while the Online Battle mode, as its name suggests, enables infrastructure play.
With Picross DS due May 11th, expect our next update to be a review. But even our uncommonly sharp minds have been known to get things occasionally wrong so you might want to click 'Track It!' to ensure you don't miss anything.