A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Picross 3-D requires patience and a good use of strategy. Much of that strategy is outlined in the lengthy tutorial. Kids used to fast-paced action may need to be reminded that blind block-smashing (as tempting as it may be sometimes) will raretly lead them to a correct solution. Parents should also be aware that children can create and share their own puzzles. Puzzles shared online via Wi-Fi get vetted by Nintendo, but kids can share their own puzzles locally between DS units, and those would be unmoderated.
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What's it about?
In PICROSS 3-D, a solid, three-dimensional figure is buried within a block of cubes. Numbers listed on each horizontal row and vertical column tell you how many cubes in that row or column are part of the hidden figure. Using those numerical clues, you tap on un-needed blocks, shattering them and removing them from the screen. Once you've removed all the extraneous blocks, you're left with a Lego-like cube figure (which then becomes animated and performs a silly little scene). A make-your-own mode gives players the opportunity to craft their own puzzles which they can either upload to Nintendo for public consumption or share privately among friends who also have a DS with Picross 3-D. You can also share some of the game's content with others even when they don't own Picross 3-D.
Is it any good?
Picross 3-D is an amazingly fun puzzle game not only because the puzzle mechanic itself (chipping away unnecessary blocks until you've uncovered the secret figure) is appealing and addictive, but also because of the suprise aspect when you solve a puzzle. The puzzle solutions can be just about anything (a cell phone, a ladybug, a dachsund, a tape dispenser, a hippo, a pizza delivery boy to name a few), and there's a little thrill each time in just seeing what it is you've unearthed. The cute animations don't hurt, either. But of course, it's really about the puzzle-solving, and to puzzle buffs, these brainteasers (which can be super-duper tough as you move further on in the game) are the stuff that dreams are made of. With four levels of difficulty, there is a puzzle level that is just right for everyone from kids to grandparents. The creative mode works quite well, too, and provides an entire other level on which this wonderful puzzle game can be enjoyed.
Online interaction: New puzzles can be downloaded via Wi-Fi, giving the game a longer life and more replay value. Players can also submit their original puzzles to Nintendo and possibly have them selected as a downloadable puzzle for other players.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the kinds of puzzles kids create with Picross 3-D's puzzle creator. What kinds of objects or images would you like to create? Do you try to make difficult puzzles to stump friends? Do you try to be silly and funny with your creations? Why do you make the choices you do?
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