Older puzzle games have always had a strong appeal to me. Not too many nowadays really catch my attention, but the old standbys take up a lot of my spare time, like Tetris on the original Game Boy (the best version of that game, in my opinion) and Dr. Mario. Last night I decided to try out the old copy of Mario’s Picross I picked up from a Goodwill a while ago.
And there went my night.
The game’s mechanics still hold together marvelously. The puzzles’ combination of math, logic, and Pictionary-esque art recognition was quite tricky at first, but it was so much fun once I got used to it. It always has a good balance of cleverness and balls-hard challenge, even in the later stages. The “H” levels filled me with self-loathing, but finishing them was one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in a puzzle game in quite a while.
Like a lot of these older puzzle games, the stark simplicity doesn’t leave much room for complaints. The clever concept stays fun for pretty much all of the game, and the aesthetics and music are pretty standard, so one can’t really complain about either.
What I find most intriguing about older puzzle games is that their simple concepts seem to be almost timeless. Titles like the original Tetris and Mario’s Picross are so simple on the surface that despite them being over sixteen-years-old they still hold up. Then later games try to build off of their original concepts, which can result in that timelessness being blurred, but we’ve always got the originals to pass the time with.
Hopefully the success of the Picross reboots will get this classic on the 3DS Virtual Console. It’s more than worthy of that sort of recognition.
Until then, go on eBay or go to your local Goodwill or retro game shop and buy this game. I promise it’ll be more than worth your time and money.