The sixth romp through Jupiter’s Picross series is stout yet stagnant.
I feel like a broken record when it comes to the Picross S games. At this point, this is my fourth review of the series on Switch and the bi-annual releases are well-made but have reached a plateau. The latest release, Picross S6, doesn’t add anything new aside from fresh puzzles. It’s welcome to get a full blast of nonograms to play, but the entries are all blurring together. Much like 2020’s Picross S5, the new 2021 release features 485 puzzles split across a number of different modes. It’s great, but it’s also more of the same.
The puzzle variety is enough to keep you on your toes, with the largest number of puzzles being classic Picross. Beyond that, you have Mega Picross, Clip Picross, and Color Picross—each with its own twist. Mega occasionally has clues that speak to two different rows; Clip is a collection of smaller puzzles that make up a larger image; Color uses different colors to make the clues more complex. In addition, a few giant puzzles are available, some of which are unlocked with save data from earlier Picross S games. It’s a lot of content, even if there aren’t any innovations.
As the Picross S series is six entries deep, what is standing out more is what isn’t there. It’s disappointing that no touch screen controls exist. That’s another staple negative for the series on Switch, but it’s one that gets to be more of a bummer as time goes on. Also, while these games feature consistently well-structured puzzles, the Switch has really good competition when it comes to Picross-style games, most of which add more visual panache and have nicer options. 2020’s Pixel Puzzle Makeout League uses touch screen controls (among other customizable control options) and even 2021’s Hatsune Miku Logic Paint S auto-completes a row when you solve it. These smart additions are helping some of Picross S developer Jupiter’s competition make up a lot of ground.
Picross S6 is still an excellent puzzle game packed with just shy of 500 puzzles from a handful of different modes. Even if it’s stagnated, I still wholeheartedly recommend the latest game. I just hope Picross S7 is more a leap forward than more of the same.