Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons (Switch, PC)

There’s a popular type of video game featuring picture logic problems called nonogram puzzles.  But they are more commonly known as “Picross” or a variation of that name.  I enjoy these games somewhat, but I especially like it when they have a central theme, like video game characters.  About eight years ago on the 3DS, I reviewed a couple of them that featured Pokémon and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (probably can’t play them anymore now).  And a couple of years ago, they had a Picross game on the Switch featuring classic SEGA titles.  And now you can play another one based on the farming sim series: Story of Seasons.  Story of Seasons used to be known in the US as Harvest Moon, but because of rights acquisitions and other stuff, they had to change the name.  But all the games were basically doing what Stardew Valley also does, just decades prior.  Anyway, Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons is available on Switch and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

When you start, the game has a video tutorial on how to play the game.  It’s pretty good but I have played other ‘picross’ games that explain the rules better via interactive tutorials.  For instance, I truly didn’t fully understand how to play these games until Picross 3D came along.  To solve these puzzles, you must fill in spaces on a grid to make a picture, and you use number clues on the rows and columns to do so.  I won’t explain the rules any more than that, but you’ll get the idea if you play this one.

You can solve regular puzzles, and there are about 270 of them.  What’s cool is that in the background, you can view your farmers working the fields, and when you make a picture of a tool, crop, animal, or farm building, they’ll show up in the background, too.  The seasons will change in the background over time, too, just like in the regular series!  There are also collage puzzles where you solve about ten or so smaller pictures to make a big one, and there’s about 5 or six of those.  So yeah, quite a bit of content.

You can also review the tutorial, check your records and achievements, and view an almanac with characters from the Story of Seasons games.  When you make a picture of a character, they’ll be unlocked to view in the almanac.  I was glad to see my favorite character was in there: bachelorette Iris from Story of Seasons on the 3DS.  I also liked that you can save your puzzles at any time.  Another thing I liked was that you can get a clue at the beginning and check for mistakes and the game won’t penalize you.  You’ll get an icon showing you used these ‘cheats’ in your records, but you don’t have to start the puzzle over if you make too many mistakes like some other ‘picross’ games do.  The game even says “there’s no right or wrong way to solve these puzzles,” and it makes it a lot more chill and relaxed and fun.

The only problem I had with the game is one I have with most other ‘picross’ titles.  The bigger more intricate puzzles make it hard to see the numbers, especially in handheld mode on the Switch.  You CAN zoom in a little, but not much.  But other than that, this is one of the better puzzle games I’ve played this year so far.

Kid Factor:

Nothing violent or objectionable here.  Although one of the collage puzzles shows what looks like a cockfight, which surprised me a bit.  I had to look it up, and it’s not as bad as it sounds.  One of the Story of Seasons games has an event where you can pit your chicken in a sumo style match but they just jump and scare each other, not really fight.  But it still surprised me when I first saw it here!  Reading skill and strong logic reasoning is required, but that also makes this game somewhat educational, too.  Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons is rated E for Everyone.

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