Picture Logic Style Puzzles

Posted by Trinkit on May 29th, 2007

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I recently did a small blurb on Picross DS. I’m absolutely in love with that puzzle style. I was pleasantly delighted when my research into sudoku games on the Nintendo DS led me to discover the picture logic puzzles inside Essential Sudoku. Even with all those puzzles, however, I still wanted more. My initial search lead me to try and discover more DS games and I was able to find three of them, Puzzle Series Vol. 6 - Illust Logic, DS Puzzler Numplay Fan Oekaki, and Oekaki Puzzle Battle! - Yuusha-Oh GaoGaiGar Hen. Overall, picture logic puzzle games are all high quality and don’t seem to suffer from the overpopulation and eagerness to hop on a money bandwagon as has happened to sudoku. These 3 games are safe buys if you’re a fan of picture logic puzzles.

Puzzle Series Vol. 6 - Illust Logic Box CoverIllust logic sports a more stylish interface than Picross DS and is also more ‘clean.’ It’s style is much the same as the the sudoku puzzle series games and Sudoku Gridmaster. The actual gameplay screen is much better in design than Picross’. The top screen gives you your playtime and the column clues, and the bottom screen is your play area and row clues. There is no cumbersome scrolling as there is in Picross DS either. Unfortunately, I don’t know just how many puzzles there are in this title, an educated guess would put me at saying there’s at least 200 puzzles. It also seems to sport an unlockable ranking test similar to that found in Sudoku Gridmaster and the Puzzle Series sudoku games.

DS Puzzler Numplay Fan Oekaki Box CoverDS Puzzler Numplay Fan Oekaki contains both sudoku and ‘Oekaki’ logic puzzles. One of the neat things about this is that it plays in book mode, where you hold the DS sideways. It has options for right or left handed people, and a lot of options I honestly don’t understand. For english players this title might be a bit frustrating as it took me quite a bit of poking around to actually find the puzzles. Also, the type of picture logic puzzles are slightly different then previously mentioned ones. There are multiple colors and the clues are color-coded to indicate the color of block to fill in, also, alternating colors do not need a blank space between them and the previous or following color. Only consecutive clues of the same color need a seperating blank. For the record, the sudoku puzzles are of high quality and worth playing.

Oekaki Puzzle Battle! - Yuusha-Oh GaoGaiGar Hen Box CoverOekaki Puzzle Battle! - Yuusha-Oh GaoGaiGar Hen, the first alternatively themed picture logic game I’ve discovered for the Nintendo DS. It’s fun and has a number of puzzles. It also has an interesting scheme for it’s ‘larger’ more difficult and detailed puzzles. Instead of awkward zooming or squishing everything on the screen it divides larger puzzles into multiple groupings of 10×10 grids. The largest puzzle I’ve found is 16 10×10 grids amounting to a 40×40 picross puzzle. Due to the 10×10 max puzzle size, none of the puzzles are too overly difficult, but, they’re still all quite fun puzzles to solve. The main frustration in the game is that it doesn’t stop when you’ve correctly solved a puzzle and there’s no way to mark ‘x’ in a square. To check if you’re done you hit a set of kanji on the right side of the screen and it’ll check your puzzle. It locks correct answers in red and gets rid of incorrect answers. For each incorrect answer it tallies a miss and lowers your score for that puzzle.

Discovering these three games was really nice, but, these puzzles are like catnip. “I want!” comes to mind. So, I continued my search, along other avenues, searching for published books, places to play online, and how to be able to continue to find these puzzles. I never expected to find so much on this considering how rare I perceived this type of puzzle to be.

I first continued researching what has been released for consoles. I previously mentioned the two gameboy games, Mario’s Picross and Mario’s Picross 2 in another post. Joining these two is a bunch of SNES games. Mario’s Super Picross, Oekaki Logic 1 & 2, Picross NP Volume 1-8, and Ochan no Oekaki Logic. A single gameboy advance game, Hatena Satena. A gameboy game with a downloadable rom at this site, Drymouth. Unfortunately, I’m not 100% sure of the story behind this rom. If it was just homebrew, or a never published prototype. I’ve even come across mention of two arcade boards containing picture logic puzzles, Logic Pro 1 & 2. There’s also quite a number of titles on the playstation, Ochan no Oekaki Logic 1-3, Oekaki Puzzle 1-5, Numeric Paint Puzzle, Colorful Logic 1-3, Painter Logic 1 & 2, Hello Kitty illust Puzzle, and Illustration Puzzle and Slide Puzzle. I would love to have the ability to say a little about each of these. I just don’t have access to all the hardware or games.

Having felt that I’ve exhausted the console market, I next turned to trying to find computer software and online places to play. Unfortunately in this endeavor, most of the computer software I found was russian and very hard for me to read or interpret, and even more of it was of very dubious quality. However, I came out of the scuffle with bad websites and poor looking picture logic software with 3 promising candidates. Japan Picture by Sergei I. Bogomyakov, it’s a very solid looking picture logic software and comes in with only a 12.95 price. It allows you to import puzzle files pre-made, as well as making your own puzzles from computer .ico files. Next, Japan Riddles, it’s an absolutely beautiful game and has an english release. I can’t tell you much more cause the site was in russian. Lastly, Cross Image by a company called Xdyne. It looks to be a well-polished title and it includes an editor for creating your own puzzles. It has two different licensing schemes, a 19.95 personal license, and a 29.95 extended license that lets you distribute the game to your friends and family via the companies greeting card service. I’m not sure I understand entirely how it works, but, if it allows you to distribute the full game that way, it might be quite the value if you and your family all like the puzzles.

I then began to investigate places to play online, and was only able to find a few really great sites. Picture Puzzle is one, a japanese site that has tons and tons of puzzles. Apparently there’s a rating and comment system as well. Neither is all that useful to those that can’t read japanese. Griddlers.net is a site in english with over 40,000 puzzles. A great many of them are multi-color puzzles and my short evaluation of the site lead me to believe that not all of them have logical solutions and many may rely on guesswork. I could be mistaken on this as I’m not exactly an expert on these puzzles, yet. I’d love to hear about more quality sources for Picross puzzles. The ones I was able to find through google lead me to a number of sites with a small amount of puzzles and quirky theming that made me feel I should pass on mentioning them.

7 Responses

  1. ganesh2 Says:

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    First of all , i have to say that i also love picross games. Even if i don’t want to pley them all.

    Something which is interesting with the picross games , is that we can resolve always the same puzzle from one game to another , we cannot figure it out at all, it’s almost like remembering EACH number on a sudoku grid.
    (how many picross games don’t have a picture that represents a pencil ? Or even a hat ?)

    Knowing that , it’s substantially possible to play to all the picross games , in fact. And no other game is able to allow that.

    I really enjoyed myself playing hatena satena, because it’s one of the very very rare picross games that implies a story within.

    P.S:(There’s a picross on the neogeopocket too, Oekaki puzzle, and it’s very good.)

  2. Pipomantis Says:

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    On a french blog (la faute a la manette), you asked an user called Ganesh 2 to contact, and you also asked everyone to give you advice about logic games.

    I just have the best one for you.

    Guru Logic champ.

    If you have a messenger, I’ll be glad to tell you more about it. pipomantis at[nospam] hotmail.com

    See ya !

  3. Trinkit Says:

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    Ganesh2, not sure I understand what you mean. I don’t think it’s possible to play all possible Picross puzzles, the numbers are just insane. I could just be misunderstanding what you mean though. :) As for Hatena Satena, I didn’t realise it had a story, I’m not very good on reading japanese, just am able to play the games cause the gameplay’s pretty straightforward and on most games you’re given some context on what to do or it’s easy enough to figure out without explanations.

    Pipomantis, I went ahead and sent an add request on MSN :). I’d love to hear more about it.

    Thanks to both of you for taking the time to leave comments, I appreciate hearing from you :)

  4. Kohana Says:

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    Heh yeah for black and white puzzles alone the number of combinations is 2 to the power of the number of cells(for more colors it becomes the number of colors to the power of the number of cells) and even on just a 10×10 black and white board that’s 1,267,650,600,228,229,401,496,703,205,376 unique possibilities. And increasing the board size increases the possibilities exponentially. Granted just because there are that many doesn’t mean there are nearly that many interesting puzzles :P.

  5. Emily Says:

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    I am obsessed with these puzzles too and am eagerly awaiting the release of PicrossDS in Canada.

    The website http://www.conceptispuzzles.com/index.htm has free puzzles every week. Conceptis is the brains behind many of the Logic Puzzles out there (on page and video games)

    There are 2 decent books you could check out:

    Mind-Sharpening Pixel Puzzles
    by Conceptis Puzzles

    Perplexing Pixel Puzzles
    by Conceptis Puzzles

    You can get both on Amazon.com. There appear to be many more books out there then the last time I checked…might have to go on a shopping spree!

  6. Trinkit Says:

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    Yeah, Conceptis is also behind two DS games, one I think I’ve mentioned elsewhere, it has 3 of the Conceptis puzzle styles in one game. Thanks for the recommendation, will have to try and pick those up. I haven’t done a whole lot of playing any of the games with pencil and paper. :)

  7. Mandy Says:

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    I found a great picross web site. You start at the easy level and work all the way up to expert. I am at the 4th puzzle on the expert level and cant stop playing until I figure it out. You get 30 minutes to solve a puzzle and can only make 5 mistakes. But if you make 5 mistakes you dont lose all your previous games, you just have to restart the puzzle your doing. the web site is,
    http://www.heavygames.com/armorpicross/showgame.asp.

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