Full disclosure: I have a Picross addiction. If Pavlov is Nintendo and Picross is a bell, I’m the salivating dog.
They release a new game in the series, I buy it, and the next 20 hours of my life are a blur as I perfect every puzzle.
Having said that, my excitement for the sudden release of Picross S on Switch was huge!
An important new feature was touted: multiplayer. New to the series, two players would be able to “play cooperatively, or compete to see who can place the most tiles!”
This was a game-changer! I have a friend from Picrossers Anonymous who would love to relapse with me and go head-to-head!
Well, Nintendo wasn’t fully honest with their description of this functionality. Technologically, it’s all there: two players can control cursors on the same screen, and it works. It’s fun to help each other out and solve puzzles together.
Competitively, the structure is non-existent. There’s no separate “Vs. Mode” or anything of that nature, it simply tallies up the number of tiles filled in by each player. The game doesn’t keep score over multiple rounds or celebrate a victor. The players are left to point out that their score was higher and rub it in their “opponent’s” face.
That’s not the extent of the issue, either. This game is impossible—I repeat—impossible to be treated competitively. It leaves the door wide open for cheating and unfair play.
I mentioned my fellow addict above. We got to playing a few rounds of Picross S together and it wasn’t long before he had outsmarted the game. Whenever I placed a tile, he would follow behind my cursor and overwrite it with a tile of his own color, taking my points for himself.
Picross S lets competitors get away with whatever they’d like, and also creates another problem by not awarding any points for blocking off tiles. Placing an X on a space that won’t contain a colored title is a critical part of Picross gameplay, but gamers are punished in multiplayer mode by not receiving any points, leaving their opponent to score off their work.
My advice to Switch owners: Purchase this title and enjoy it as a single player or cooperative affair.
Words to Nintendo: Be careful how you advertise your games; it’s important to be honest about what’s included in the package.
Update: Nintendo has adjusted the wording on their Picross S online listing to read ‘Unique to the Switch version, 2 players can now play simultaneously! Enjoy with friends and family!’