Kemono Friends Picross is the most recent entry in the Picross series, and the third entry on Nintendo Switch. I had absolutely devoured the first two entries, Picross S and Picross S2, clocking up a massive 85+ hours of puzzling across the two of them. I’ve also branched out into similar series with Pic-a-Pix Deluxe and Piczle Colors. So how does Kimono Friends Picross compare?
Like Picross S and Picross S2 before it, Kemono Friends Picross is a really polished puzzle game. There are 300 different puzzles across the main two modes: Picross and Mega Picross. Plus, returning from the last entry, is Clip Picross, a mode where many puzzles join together to make up one picture.
For those who are new to Picross puzzles, the premise is fairly simple. Using logic, you fill in squares on a grid, to gradually reveal a picture solution. Personally, I find the puzzles engaging and relaxing, and enjoy trying to guess what the picture will be once the puzzle is complete.
This is where Kemono Friends Picross comes unstuck for me. Kemono Friends is a Japanese media series spanning mobile games, manga and anime (or so Wikipedia tells me). Unlike the previous two entries, and indeed Pic-a-Pic Deluxe and Piczle Colors, which have pictures that anyone could recognise, more or less all of the puzzle solutions in Kemono Friends Picross are characters from Kemono Friends.
Apparently the picture on the left is meant to match the lion on the right
Having solutions that are characters I don’t know, and in barely any way match their pictures, really sucked some of the fun out of the game for me. Whereas in previous entries I enjoyed trying to guess what the picture would be, in Kemono Friends Picross, without that element, the game increasingly felt like a chore.
Inevitably – as a bone fide Picross addict – I did complete every puzzle in Kemono Friends Picross. But I suspect that if, like me, you aren’t familiar with the Kemono Friends series, then this will be a Picross game to skip
Kemono Friends Picross may be as polished as the rest of the picross series, with a large number of puzzles that will take you many hours to complete. But ultimately, in its over-reliance on Kemono Friends, it will just be too niche for most puzzlers in the west.