Review: Sanrio Characters Picross hopes people like mascots and puzzles

Big news for Jupiter Picross fans! A momentous day is about to arrive. Nintendo 3DS owners worldwide can soon play Sanrio Characters Picross. Most of the basics we covered not long after its Japanese debut. The short of it is, players get more nonograms! If you enjoy puzzles, you will probably enjoy it! But, there are a few details to consider when determining how much it will or won’t appeal to you.

Sanrio Characters Picross is a lot like the Jupiter staples, like installments in the Picross e series or My Nintendo Picross: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Bad Badtz Maru, Cinnamoroll, Goropikadon, Hello Kitty, Kerokerokeroppi, Kirimi-chan, Kuromi, Little Twin Stars, My Melody, Pochacco, Pompompurin, Tuxedo Sam and their friends have been immortalized in puzzles. There are 150 basic Picross stages, which can be revisited in an additional 150 Mega Picross Puzzles. By completing noted puzzles in Picross, you get pieces for three additional Micross puzzles. In pretty much every situation, you are looking at numbers on the left and top sides of a puzzle and using those coordinates to determine which spaces should be filled in and which should be left empty, with a familiar face as a reward for getting things right.

The difficulty is a little less demanding, perhaps because Jupiter expects the Sanrio target audience to be more familiar with iconic characters than nonograms.

Sanrio Characters Picross compares well to the developer’s other games, in terms of content, and will likely take people in the vicinity of 10 hours to complete. The difficulty is a little less demanding, perhaps because Jupiter expects the Sanrio target audience to be more familiar with iconic characters than nonograms. There is no penalty for enabling the hint roulette at the outset of a puzzle when it is offered, giving you a free horizontal and vertical line filled in. I would also say it is easier to brute-force your way through, on the rare occasion you do find yourself stumped, simply because the solutions are well-crafted and greatly resemble the characters in question.

While the characters are quite cute, the ones chosen can make Sanrio Characters Picross feel a bit dated. We expect to see Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars, My Melody and Tuxedo Sam, because even though all three are from the 1970’s, they are established icons and perennial favorites. But given that we are in the 2010’s, it seems odd that only three are more recent additions to the company’s roster: Cinnamoroll (2001), Kuromi (2005) and Kirimi-chan (2013). I feel like Kirimi-chan is one of the oddest selections of all, given Gudetama also debuted the same year, is more recognizable worldwide and has a design that I feel would have meshed better with the rest of the cast. Also, it seems like it would have been a perfect opportunity to have a Sanrio Boys puzzle, given the series’ characters are fans of mascots appearing here, or capitalize on the recent success of Aggretsuko.

As you complete standard Picross puzzles in Sanrio Characters Picross, you will earn stickers. Typically, between three and four pre-determined stickers are awarded for each success. These can be used to customize the game after they are unlocked. People can put together up to six saved scenes, with an option to toggle them so they appear as a background for the title screen or during a puzzle. It is easy to apply these items and work with layering to achieved desired images. Unfortunately, there is no way to save and share them. Miiverse is gone, so we can not use that screenshot function. There is no in-game opportunity to save a finished project as a .jpg to your 3DS or upload it via the system’s Image Share functionality. After I made one title screen background and one stage background, I did not see much of a reason to do anything more with the virtual stickers I had earned.

Sanrio Characters Picross is another solid nonogram collection from Jupiter. The fact that the customization option is hobbled by a lack of means to permanently save and share your work is unfortunate, sure. But getting to go through 303 puzzles crafted by perhaps the best studio responsible for them is reward enough. Also, the use of familiar characters, who are often quite cute, and friendlier gameplay might help introduce the puzzles to a new audience. You really cannot lose playing a Jupiter Picross game.

Score: 8/10
Publisher: Jupiter Corporation
Release Date: June 28, 2018 (EU, NA TBA)
Developer: Jupiter Corporation
Platform(s): 3DS
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