My Nintendo Picross: The Legend of Zelda - Twilight Princess was, as the name implies, a reward exclusive to My Nintendo users on 3DS. It's a basic game - your standard Picross with Twilight Princess themed puzzles - but for my first exposure to Picross, you can't beat free. Even if the price tag weren't $0.00, though, this is far from a bad way to kill some time on a puzzle game.
The game is broken into three parts - Picross, Mega Picross, and Micross. Picross is the most basic game mode, and it's a lot like sudoku crossed with Pictionary. You have a series of numbers atop every column and to the left of every row telling you how many blocks are filled in each row or column and how many are adjacent. From there, you have to figure out what blocks should be filled and what blocks can't be filled to create the picture and complete the puzzle as quickly as possible. As you get into later stage puzzles, the puzzles get bigger, going from something like 10x10 to 20x20. Mega Picross is basically the same but with one major addition; there are some clues that span two columns or rows. You still have your regular single row/column hints, but there may be one section with seven adjacent squares stretching over two columns, for example, adding an extra element of challenge. Micross is like Picross within Picross. The main puzzle is a standard Picross puzzle, but once you finish that, each individual square of THAT puzzle has its own Picross puzzle to solve to add detail to a large overall picture.
The game offers you a "hint roulette" if you need a hand at the start. It scrolls through each row rapidly and, whatever row is highlighted is filled in. It then repeats for the columns. You can opt out of this - it asks you at the start of each puzzle - but it's good for those learning the ropes in Picross (or those like me who just suck at the game). You can also turn on a hint feature that will highlight the numbers atop each column/beside each row if there are moves that you can make for sure although it's still up to you to figure out what you can fill in or rule out. This can easily be toggled on or off at any time during a puzzle. You're scored based on your time, and every time you fill in a square that shouldn't be filled it, the game tells you that you're wrong, Xs out the square, and adds time to your clock as punishment (2 min, 4 min, 8 min, etc), so if you're really bad (i.e. me), at the game, you could spend 10 minutes on a puzzle and have a final time over two hours (true story).
My Nintendo Picross: The Legend of Zelda - Twilight Princess is probably the best free 3DS game I've ever played. It was my first exposure to Picross, so I can't say how it compares to other Picross games, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. The three different puzzle modes gave the game some good variety, and the Micross kept me busy for over two hours start to finish. I'll probably go back to it every now and then and try to get a finish time of under one hour for the puzzles I horribly screwed up on (mainly Mega Picross) as you only get a black and white image if your final time is over an hour, but I think it says a lot about how much fun the game is if I'm planning to go back to it given that I'm notorious for playing a game once and literally never touching it again.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.