Retroview: Import – Mario no Super Picross

Mario No Super Picross Title

Long has Japan neglected the West when it comes to top quality games and some not-so top quality. Read all about some of those games that never made it to our shores and decide for yourself whether they were a huge mistake not to localise or whether they were best left in Japan.

Mario no Super Picross is a 2D Picross game with a distinct Mario flavour to it. It released in 1995 on the Super Famicom and is a sequel to the Game Boy game, Mario’s Picross.

For those of you unaware, which I imagine is a lot of you, Picross is short for a Picture Crossword. It’s a type of puzzle very prevalent in Japan in which you are given a square grid that has a picture hidden underneath which you have to unearth. The game clues you in on how to do this by displaying numbers on the left hand side and the top of the grid. Let’s say there’s a 3 on the second row of the puzzle. That would mean that you have to fill in three squares of the grid, in that row and in a straight line to start revealing the picture. You do this until all the necessary squares have been filled in and a picture is revealed. It’s a really fun puzzle and I find it a shame that it’s not a bigger thing elsewhere.

Mario’s Super Picross sticks to the rules of the game very well and feels like an excellent conversion from a pen and paper game to a video game. Mario’s Super Picross provides you with multiple levels of difficulty to bust your brain with a dozen puzzles in each one. The pictures within the puzzles also vary a great amount, from Japanese characters, to animals, to vehicles. Included is a special Wario mode which doubles the longevity of the game by giving you slightly harder puzzles and mixing up the rules a little bit, as would be the wont of Wario.

Mario’s Super Picross does differ somewhat from the standard picross format. It times you in the Mario levels and each time you make a mistake you suffer a fairly hefty time penalty. You can chip away at each square to start revealing the picture and you can also put an x on any square to remind yourself of where you know there is no part of the picture. The time penalty is taken away in the Wario levels and instead the game doesn’t even inform you of any mistakes made. You just can’t complete the puzzle if you make a mistake until you set it right again, putting it more in line with a standard pen and paper format.

I know you must be thinking, “Why would I want to play some picture crossword game on my Super Nintendo?” But let me assure you, the game is incredibly fun, it could just be me but I love Picross. It’s a real shame that it’s not a bigger thing in the West because it’s far and above any damn word search or Sudoku puzzle. If you read this article and you are thinking this very thing, then put that thought away and give the game a chance. Hopefully you won’t regret it.

As far as playability in English goes, the game is very easy to understand. The tutorial is in Japanese but the game is very self explanatory. If you know how to play Picross then you can figure out the game.

In summation, if you are a fan of puzzle games or if you like video games with a Mario touch to them then I think you should give this one a look. It’s quite lengthy, challenges your mind and not your thumbs, has an endearing art style to it and is a hell of a lot of fun. You can pick it up from eBay as of this writing for between £5 and £15 depending on the seller. If you don’t have a Super Famicom or a converter for you Super Nintendo then you can try a few alternatives. Picross and the astounding Picross 3D on the DS are both well priced and a ton of fun. Picross 3D especially is an exceptional puzzle game that you should check out even if you do pick up a copy of Mario’s Super Picross.

If you’ve played Mario no Super Picross before, or you’re thinking of picking it up now then let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.

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Author: Ross Aitken View all posts by
I'm Ross! I'm an avid gamer and a beginner video game collector. I certainly enjoy playing current games but my true love is retro gaming.