Yes, I got the next update done already! I definitely wanted to make sure I finished this update while the store was still up, it’s got a lot of fantastic games covered.
Table of Contents for this update
Parascientific Escape: Crossing at the Farthest Horizon
Parascientific Escape: Cruise in the Distant Seas
Parascientific Escape: Gear Detective
Parking Star 3D
Phasmophobia: Hall of Specters 3D
Phil’s Epic FIll-a-Pix Adventure
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice
Picross 3D Round 2
Ping Pong Trick Shot
Ping Pong Trick Shot 2
Pirate Pop Plus
Pocket Card Jockey
The Summaries for letter P – 29 games
Parascientific Escape: Cruise in the Distant Seas – Published by Circle and developed by Intense in 2015. This is a somewhat simple but great adventure game. You play as a girl in a group of girls stuck on a sinking cruise liner, and you need to figure out how to get off alive. The game has a first-person viewpoint, with prerendered rooms which you view and can interact with with the stylus on the lower screen. You will collect items and use your abilities in order to solve puzzles. While inspired by escape rooms and such, though, you can’t actually lose in this game, which I at least really like. I don’t like the pressure of having a time limit before your character dies or something, so this game, which has the tension of that kind of setup but doesn’t have the actual danger, is perfect. As the name suggests, the main character has psychic powers. She’s able to use several different abilities, and you will need to use them in the right places in order to solve the puzzles. Now, this is a small download-only title, so it is not especially long. The difficulty level is also somewhat moderate. There are some tricky puzzles, sure, but for the most part this game isn’t that hard. That was entirely fine with me, though, and I really liked this game. The four girls are all good, interesting characters, the puzzles are fun to figure out, and the visuals and setting are good. I would say more, but I don’t want to spoil the story! I highly recommend any adventure game fan should get this game while you can. I’d say that it is a fun little adventure that probably won’t take too long and is lots of fun while it lasts. The game did well enough to get two sequels. I like this first one the best, though. It’s great. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Parascientific Escape: Gear Detective – Published by Circle and developed by Intense in 2016. This title is a sequel to the one above. This game has similar gameplay to the first one, but makes a lot of changes along the way. Most notably, this time you play as a guy detective. He’s got a sidekick girl who likes him. Additionally, you aren’t stuck in an escape room-style setup this time. Instead you’re a young detective, as the name suggests, with a detective’s office. Of course, you’re about to be pulled into a dangerous mystery. This is still an adventure game with psychic powers and items to collect, though, so apart from the change in setting and characters the core gameplay is familiar. This game has a bit more consequences for failure than the first one, so I guess other people didn’t like that you couldn’t actually lose in the first game. I liked it better that way, but still this is a good adventure game well worth getting. It’s cheap, good, and, again, entirely 3DS exclusive.
Parascientific Escape: Crossing at the Farthest Horizon – Published by Circle and developed by Intense in 2017. The third and final Parascientific Escape game brings back both protagonists from the first two games, and switch between them at points in the story. This game feels a bit more ambitious than the previous ones and has some good puzzles. As with the second game it definitely has choices that can lead to a bad ending. I don’t like that kind of pressure, probably unlike most people, but still this is a good adventure game with an interesting story, good characters, and nice visuals. As usual the psychic powers thing is a somewhat gimmicky puzzle-solving mechanic for the most part, but still this is a good adventure game I certainly recommend picking up while you can. This trilogy, based entirely around stylus-based precise touch controls, would not control anywhere near as well on the Switch as they do on 3DS, but even so it’s a shame that the series hasn’t returned. I like all three of these games quite a bit, they’re short-ish but well made and very fun adventure games that any genre fan should definitely play. Everyone knows the Ace Attorney series, but this series of smaller titles shouldn’t be forgotten. Pick them up. 3DS exclusive. Buy it. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Parking Star 3D – Published by Circle and developed by Easytech in 2014. This game is a driving puzzle game, but definitely not a racing game. It feels like a mobile port, but it’s alright. As the name suggests, this is more of a simulator, a parking simulator in specific. Using either button or touch controls, and the best option is a mixture of both, you try to park a car. The controls are on the lower screen, and the fairly basic 2d overhead-view graphics on the upper screen. The game makes minimal use of stereoscopic 3d, unfortunately. It is there, but not much of it. In each level, your challenge is to park in a specific parking space, fully in the space with the parking space lines showing on all sides of the car, without hitting more than one thing. You can bump one thing and keep going, at a cost of rating for the requisite three-star rating system seemingly all mobile games use, but a second bump means you fail, try again.
The controls are simple but take a little getting used to. You have a forward or reverse lever, either on the dpad, face buttons, or on the right of the touch screen; the wheel, either on the touchscreen (preferred!) or on the analog stick; and a brake, either on the left of the toughscreen or on the shoulder buttons. Using touch for the steering is preferred because you don’t turn the car like a normal car in a videogame. Instead, you have to spin it as if it was a wheel, even with the stick. This works well with the touch controls, just turn that wheel with the stylus. It feels very odd to be rotating your analog stick around in circles, though, but that’s what you have to do here. Yeah. As with a real wheel it stops at certain points once you’ve turned the wheels as far as they can go, and then you will need to turn it back around. The wheel doesn’t auto-center at all, it stays exactly where you leave it. As for speed control, you can adjust your speed kind of, but it doesn’t feel fully analog. For reverse basically you move at a standard speed as soon as you go into reverse, stopping when you let off it. For forwards you can kind of control your speed, but you mostly have a speed you go at. Fortunately, it is slow enough to work. Once you figure out the controls this game plays fine, as you go forward and back and turn in order to work your way into each parking space. There are plenty of puzzles on offer. It’s a decently average little game that you might want to pick up if it sounds interesting. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive, as far as I know.
Pazuru – Published by Joindots in 2015. Pazuru is a puzzle game with one-button controls. This is baasically one of those bounce-the-light-on-angled-mirrors games, but with a bouncing ball and a timing element. The game plays on the upper screen, has basic sprite graphics, and doesn’t use any stereoscopic 3d, so it is certainly technically unimpressive. The gameplay is plenty challenging and interesting, though, so it may be of interest. This game has a light Japanese ninja theme, but mostly you are just watching an object bounce around the upper screen. Whenever you hit the A button, objects change depending on their type. Some angled blocks will turn on and off each time you hit the button, others will rotate each time you press it, and such. Each puzzle is a single screen and there are several gold shurikens scattered around that you are trying to collect all of with a single try. The challenge is, there are multiple exits scattered around the level, so you will need to hit the button with the correct timing to make everything line up correctly so you don’t end up in one before getting them all. After completing each level you get a rating on the standard mobile game three-start system Based on your time and if you got them all and such. Pazuru is simple, and probably is a mobile port, but it’s a decent puzzle game and is average or slightly above that. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Phasmophobia: Hall of Specters 3D – Published by In-D Gaming in 2019. New Nintendo 3DS required. This title is an extremely simple and short little game jam demo that you pay for, basically. It’s kind of neat though. This game is someones’ attempt to make a 3d, first-person take on Pac-Man. On the upper screen you see the first person view, and on the lower screen a map of the maze. It’s the standard Pac-Man maze. The map shows your location and the locations of the four ghosts. In this maze, you need to explore around and collect 12 pages attached to the walls. The pages are NOT marked on the map, so you will need to look around and find them. If you get caught by a ghost you lose a life, three lives and it’s game over. You move with the left stick and aim with the right analog nub. I kind of hate the analog nub, so it’s unfortunate that this game doesn’t have touch aiming, but sadly it does not. It also doesn’t have stereoscopic 3d; despite requiring the New 3DS, this game looks the same with the 3d slider up or down. Too bad.
If you can manage the camera stick the controls are alright, though this is about as basic a 3d environment as you will see on 3DS, but there’s literally minutes of gameplay here — there is only one level. You will definitely die several times before beating the level, but once you beat it the only other thing to do is Insanity mode, where you have only one life and a time limit. That only took me a few minutes more and with that the game was done. There is very low replay value here, it really is a techdemo. It’s cheap, can be fun to play, and it’s cool that it got released at all, but still, I’m not sure if it’s worth buying or not. Do you not mind buying one of the shortest games on the system in order to support an indie game jam project that actually got released on the eshop? I don’t regret buying it, but make your own choice. Also released on Android and PC/Mac/Linux (itch.io). Note that while there is a PC/Mac/Linux (Steam) game named Phasmophobia, that is an entirely different game by a different developer.
Phil’s Epic Fill-a-Pix Adventure – Published by Lightwood Games in 2017. This third party somewhat Minesweeper-meets-Picross game is a huge disappointment. This game has over a hundred huge, scrolling puzzles. Numbers around the field tell you how many blocks next to each space need to be filled in. Picross-style you either fill in spaces or don’t, there aren’t multiple colors. The concept is sound, I love both Picross and Minesweeper so sort of combining the two is a good idea. Sadly, but you won’t want to try to solve these puzzles. Of all 3DS puzzle games I have played, this is the only one at all like this which is missing something critical. You see, this puzzle game… has button-only controls. And I mean it has NO stylus support, not even in menus. On the 3DS. I have no idea at all what the developers were thinking, but who would want button-only controls in a 3DS puzzle game like this? Why would anyone actually publish a puzzle game like this on 3DS with no stylus support? The game concept is great and is exactly my kind of thing, I love both Picross and Minesweeper and this is a nice cross of the two, but without stylus support my interest in the game goes way, WAY down. I don’t know how this happened, but it should not have been released like this. Skip this mess. This is the same publisher who released the pretty good ____-A-Pix games and this released after Pic-a-Pix Color (below), so I have no idea what happened with this one, but don’t buy it. Also on Vita, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.
The Phoenix Wright series – The four titles released in 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017. Four Phoenix Wright games, including a collection of the three GBA games and three standalone releases, released in the US on 3DS, and two more in Japan-only, though they did finally get Western releases on Switch. I was going to cover these, but … I’ve still never played any of them, and I don’t think I could cover them now in the depth any fans would want. So I won’t. I will only say that these games are very good versions of these popular adventure games, and that these games are digial-only in America and are ideally suited for this system. With touch controls designed for a stylus touchscreen like this and stereoscopic 3d graphics that are much improved over those in the GBA and/or DS versions of the games which are ports from the previous generation, these are probably the best way to play the games. They have some DLC as well. I don’t think any are 3DS exclusive.
Pic-a-Pix Color – Developed by Lightwood Games in 2017. Pic-a-Pix Color is a good, and pretty interesting, Picross clone. The main unique feature here is that unlike official Picross, the tiles in this came are in multiple colors. You switch between colors with L and R, and play with the stylus (or buttons if you really want). Because there are multiple colors, this makes for a pretty different game from classic Picross because different colors can be contiguous. So, where in regular Picross there are always white spaces in between the black blocks you carve out, Pic-a-Pix Color puzzles can have a string of differently-colored blocks that are all touching, without there definitely being spaces in between. I love Picross so this is a pretty neat take on the genre. The controls and gameplay are just as you’d expect. As wtih all of the ____-a-Pix games, you have a button that will tell you if you have any errors in the puzzle, and gives you the option of correcting mistakes if you wish. And as wtih all of these games, you get a gold medal after completing each puzzle if you don’t use the autocorrect feature. You can use the ‘how many errors are there?’ feature as many times as you want, that’s fine and isn’t punished at all, and as usual this is easy to abuse if you wish. The game does keep track of how long it took you to solve each puzzle but the only medals are for not using error correction. That is somewhat unfortunate, but even so this is a good Picross-style game with a nice twist.
And, it doesn’t end with the puzzles included: unlike the other ___-a-Pix games, this one has DLC. There are several dozen $2 puzzle collections available, and if you want to play them on 3DS, and I at least definitely do, buy them before 3DS purchasing shuts down. I wish that the other games in this series also had DLC, it’s unfortunate that they do not, but hey, I’ll take what I can get and like this game for sure. It has solid puzzle gameplay, a lot of content, and is definitely worth buying. Its DLC is as well. Also on Wii U, PS4, Vita, and Nintendo Switch. Personally I would much rather play it on this system than any of those due to the combination of stylus controls and portability.
Picross 3D Round 2 – Developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo in 2016. This title is the second and sadly so far last Picross 3D title. This sequel to the original Nintendo DS game is fantastic, but unfortunately is cut down and lacking in features compared to its exceptional predecessor. The first Picross 3D is my favorite game for the DS, but this one is “merely” a very good game. On the positive side, the graphics here are very nice with good stereoscopic 3d, the puzzles are interesting, and there is a fair amount of content. However, the first game had a puzzle editor and lots of downloadable levels that you could download for free. Of course you can’t download anything in the original DS game now, but even so it still has more content than this one, and that puzzle creator. This game doesn’t have any of that. It has fewer puzzles built in, too. I love that the game is in actual 3d now, and the gameplay of chopping out the blocks of a 3d cube to make a picture is as amazingly fun and rewarding as ever. It’s just really sad that this game is so cut back versus the first one. This game had a physical release in some regions, but unfortunately not in America, so it is on this list. This is one of the best download-only 3DS games here, but it’s a pale shadow of its amazing Nintendo DS predecessor.
Picross e – Developed by Jupiter and published by Nintendo in 2013. I’m something of a Picross addict, and have slowly been playing through the 3DS Picross series, one game at a time. I’ve finished every puzzle in the first four games now, and have played a lot of several more. This series slowly improved over time, but all of the games are well worth playing if you like Picross. Picross, or picture crosswords, are nonogram puzzles which are simple and yet challenging. The board is a grid of squares. Numbers along the left and top sides of the screen show you how many tiles in each row need to be carved out. Picross is simple, since tiles are all either white, uncarved, or black, carved out. The grids can get large, particularly in later titles in the series, but the core is simple and approachable. You just need to figure out which tiles need to be touched by using logic, deduction, and, if you get stuck, guesswork. The game has a timer, and if you try to touch the wrong tile time gets added to clock. With each mistake more time gets added than the last time you guessed wrong. If you complete the level in under an hour of time, you win, get to see the image in color, and it is considered completed. Take longer than that and you will need to try again. Each Picross e titles breaks its puzzles up into several categories, and if you complete all puzzles in each mode a medal appears on the main menu showing that you have completed it.
This first game has 15 Easy puzzles of sizes 5×5 to 10×10, 60 Normal puzzles of sizes 10×10 and 15×15, and 60 Free Mode puzzles also of sizes 10×10 and 15×15. Free Mode is harder since you aren’t allowed to use hints while playing any of these puzzles. Most later games only have three Free Mode puzzles on each 15-puzzle page, but this one has more. And lastly, the game has 15 Extra mode puzzles, also 10×10 and 15×15. This game doesn’t have as many puzzles as the later ones and the maximum size is relatively small, so it’s a good starting point.
The core systems are similar across both this series and the several other licensed Picross titles, including the Hello Kitty one, the Pokemon one, and the mini Zelda Twilight Princess one, but they do add new features over time. The core controls are the same, but the later titles add larger puzzles, new modes, more puzzles, and some control improvements that make the games a little easier to use. However, start from the first one and it will feel good. This first game may not have the large images or such, but it does have plenty of puzzles mostly in smaller sizes, so it’s a perfect starting point for new Picross players. Buy all of these. If you’re only getting one the later ones are better, they add things like marking if you used any hints when you solve the puzzles instead of only ‘did it take you under an hour or not’ and improve the controls a bit, but such, but I at least say, get all of them! It’s great. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Picross e2 – Developed by Jupiter and published by Nintendo in 2013. Picross e2 is very similar to the first one, but with new puzzles. The number and block size of puzzles in the Easy, Normal, Free, and Extra categories are all identical to the first game, so you have 15 Easy puzzles, 60 puzzles each for Normal and Free, and 15 Extra puzzles, and a 15×15 max puzzle size. Additionally though, the new Micross mode is added. Micross puzzles have you making a famous work of art. The artwork is broken up into a grid of 8×8 tiles, some of which will be empty and some of which contain parts of the image. You touch each tile to start that puzzle, then try to figure out that block. Each block of the artwork is, as with the main puzzle, only 8×8, so these puzzles are easier to solve than the regular one. This game comes with five Micross puzzles, a nice amount. I like Micross mode, it’s fun seeing the larger image come together. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Picross e3 – Developed by Jupiter and published by Nintendo in 2013. Developed by Jupiter and published by Nintendo in 2015The third Picross e game again is based off of the first one with new puzzles. You get fewer regular puzzles this time, though, unfortunately. This time you get 15 Easy puzzles (5×5 and 10×10), 45 Normal puzzles (10×10 and 15×15), 45 Free puzzles (10×10 and 15×15), 15 Extra puzzles (all 15×15), and 30 puzzles in the new Mega Picross mode, in sizes of 10×10 and 15×15. Micross sadly doesn’t make an appearance in this game. It is missed. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Mega Picross somewhat makes up for the lack of puzzles in this entry, though, because these puzzles are harder than those in the other modes due to reduced information. You see, in a Mega Picross puzzle some rows are combined into paired rows. You will see only the block totals for both rows or columns combined, instead of for each one separately. Additionally, some numbers, in a black outline, are for a group of blocks which go across both rows in this group. Regular numbers are only in one lane or the other, as marked, and will never be directly touching another row. This makes solving the puzzles much trickier, as you can’t X out blocks nearly as easily because you could go sideways instead of just up and down. If that sounds a little complex, well, Mega Picross can be a bit frustrating sometimes because of how much harder it can be to figure out what you can X out or chip away. Still, it was a good addition and this is a good game. I wish it had more regular puzzles and some Micross, though. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Picross e4 – Developed by Jupiter and published by Nintendo in 2014. For the new year, this game mixes up the menu system a bit. Now, the Easy and Normal categories are combined into one mode just called [Regular] Picross. This mode has 105 puzzles of sizes 5×5 to 20×15, so a new larger puzzle size has been added. Three puzzles on each page of 15 are Free mode puzzles, the rest regular ones where the game docks you time for each mistake. This 20×15 size would be the largest size in the Picross e series. You also get two Micross puzzles, 45 Mega Picross puzzles of sizes up to 15×15, and 15 bonus puzzles, five of which unlock for each of the first three Picross e games that you own on your 3DS. Considering how muchl onger Mega Picross puzzles take and that the new size is larger, this game has a solid amount of content.
You get some new options, too — from Picross e4 on, in this series you have Hint Number Auto-Check, Hint Roulette, and ? Navigation options on the pause menu. If you turn the first of those options off the game will no longer tell you if you make mistakes, or dock you time if you do so. If you turn the second off, the game will stop asking before every puzzle if you want to have it start out by filling in one row and one column. And if you turn the third off, the hint mode will be disabled even on puzzles where you are allowed to use it. There are some nice new features here. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Picross e5 – Developed by Jupiter and published by Nintendo in 2014. This second 2014 Picross game is very similar to its predecessor, though with a bit of a graphical improvement; the on-screen interface looks a little better than it did before. This title has 120 regular Picross puzzles in sizes of 5×5 to 20×15, with three Free mode puzzles per 15-puzzle page; three Micross puzzles; 30 Mega Picross puzzles in sizes of 5×5 to 15×15; and 15 puzzles that unlock if you have the first three Picross e titles. Yes, it’s always just the first three that unlock bonus puzzles. It’s another great entry in this series. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Picross e6 – Developed by Jupiter and published by Nintendo in 2015. At this point, Picross e became a yearly series instead of one more frequent. This game has 150 regular Picross puzzles in sizes of 5×5 to 20×15, 150 Mega Picross puzzles in sizes of 5×5 to 20×15, three Micross puzzles, and 15 puzzles which unlock if you have the first three Picross e titles. This may sound like a huge number of puzzles, but the last three Picross e games “cheat” by not actually making new puzzles for Mega Picross mode. Instead, you get 150 puzzles for regular Picross, and those same puzzles in Mega Picross mode, just harder now due to how much tougher that mode is due to more limited information. The puzzles are not in the exact same order so unless you can identify the image and cheat by looking at it in the regular mode you probably will need to do the puzzle again, but it was a clever solution to significantly increase the amount of content in these games without needing to create new puzzles.
Also in 2015, Jupiter also made the free-to-start but pay-to-finish Pokemon Picross. It’s fine I guess, but expensive compared to the rest of the series — playing the whole thing will cost about $30, far more than any of these other titles, for not THAT much more content. It’s wildly overpriced, I think, but the actual gameplay is the same great stuff of course. And no, you cannot play it all for free; after a bit you need to pay in order to get the play points to continue. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Picross e7 – Developed by Jupiter and published by Nintendo in 2016. This game released more than a year after its predecessor, and it shows — the series has had a full graphical overhaul. This time you get 150 regular Picross puzzles in sizes of 5×5 to 20×15, 150 Mega Picross puzzles in sizes up to 20×15 which again are the same puzzles as regular mode just put in a different order, and three Micross puzzles. Additionally, there are 15 puzzles which unlock if you have certain other Picross e titles. The regular, Mega, and unlockable puzzles have three Free mode puzzles per 15-puzzle page, where you are not allowed to use hints and the game will not tell you if you are chipping out the correct spaces or not. In other puzzles the game tells you when you try to do an incorrect move and you get a time penalty. However, this game has the great feature that there is now a medal to earn on each puzzle. If you complete the puzzle with no errors or help, you will get a medal shown on screen. Make even one mistake, though, and you won’t get that medal. As usual if you complete the puzzle with under an hour of time used it appears on screen in color and is considered complete, but if you want to go back for some additional challenge, try to beat puzzles without using hints to get those medals. It’s a great feature which only the later Picross e titles have. This is a fantastic Picross game with nice graphics which are improved over the earlier titles, great touch controls, and lots of puzzles. Highly recommended; this series got better over time. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Picross e8 – Developed by Jupiter and published by Nintendo in 2017. The last main-series Picross e game on the 3DS is very similar to its predecessor. This game again has 150 puzzles for regular and Mega modes, reused in both modes as with the previous two titles but harder in Mega mode of course due to that modes’ rules, with the same sizes as before of sizes up to 20×15; three Micross puzzles; and 15 special puzzles which unlock if you own the first three Picross e titles. All of the features are the same as e7, so it has the medals to earn on each puzzle. The puzzles are a bit harder than e7’s are, though, so this last one is likely the most challenging and probably the best Picross e entry. I highly recommend getting all of them, though, it’s a just fantastic series which will take many, many hours to puzzle your way through. This game would be the last of the numbered Picross e titles, but Jupiter would make one more Picross game on 3DS after this one, 2018’s Sanrio characters Picross. I will get to that one later, but it’s great whether or not you care about Hello Kitty. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Ping Pong Trick Shot – Published by Starsign and developed by SIMS in 2016. This is an action/puzzle game where you need to toss a ball into a little cup. I recall there was a WiiWare game like this which the developers had to rename from “beer pong” to “ping pong” because Nintendo didn’t want a name referencing drinking in their shop. These 3DS games follow that trend by being that concept, but without any references to drink. No, this is a puzzle game where your goal is to throw the ball with the exact right speed and angle in order to get it to go into the cup. The game keeps things interesting by having each stage have a different layout. You will need to deal with walls, moving platforms, angled holes, and more. This game is from the same developer as Collide-A-Ball and such, and has the same style, interface, and simple shaded-polygon visual design as their other games. You control the game with the touch screen, and it controls well. There is a slider for your shot power and you aim with the stylus. I like this game, this kind of precise aiming is quite rewarding when you get it right. This is a short game since there aren’t all that many puzzles, but it’s fun while it lasts and I recommend picking it up. Objectively the game is average, but I enjoy it. Also available on iOS. Or at least it was at one point.
Ping Pong Trick Shot 2 – Published by Starsign and developed by SIMS in 2017. This game is more of the same. This is a level pack for fans of the first one with basically no changes except some somewhat more challenging puzzles. So yeah, I say pick it up, it’s a good game. More of the same is fine when you’re making more of a good and short game, and the added challenge makes this game slightly better than its predecessor. Pick it up if you like the first one, as I do. This game may be a NIntendo 3DS exclusive, though it’s probably a phone port.
Pirate Pop Plus – Published by 13AM Games and developed by Dadako Studios in 2016. This game plays exactly like Capcom’s classic game Buster Bros.. The game plays exactly like that game, except with not quite as good controls but some nice Game Boy-ish graphics and filters. Just like the game that inspired it, you move left and right with the d-pad and shoot straight upwards with the fire button. When you shoot, it drops a line down from the top of the screen at that point. The enemies are bouncing balls, and when they run into the line they take a hit and split apart into smaller balls. Sort of like in Asteroids you need to avoid them and keep hitting them until they all are destroyed, at which point you move on to the next level. There’s plenty of content here and I do like the screen filter options. This is an okay take on a classic, but the imprecise, mushy controls are a disappointment; I was hoping this game would be more fun to play than it is. With better controls this game could have been good, but as it is it’s below average, unfortunately. Also available on Wii U, also digital only there. The two versions are basically identical other than screen resolution and such. Also on PC/Mac (Steam) and Nintendo Switch.
Pocket Card Jockey – Developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo in 2016. This solitaire card game got quite a bit of press when it released, so I picked it up… and was quite disappointed. Pocket Card Jockey is a solitaire card game with a horse racing theme. Basically, you are a jockey, and as you go around the track you will be faced with games of solitaire. If you do well and clear them quickly you will move ahead and maybe win the race, but if you struggle and fall behind things won’t go well for your horse-racing career. The game has nice sprite-art graphics with some use of stereoscopic 3d, but I find the actual card games far too frustratingly random. My main issue is that this game punishes you quite a bit when you end up with a random card layout that is hard to solve quickly. It’s not my fault though, it’s all the luck of the draw… but the game doesn’t care. The game has a whole bunch of systems to learn, so it will take a while to figure out and going through all of the tutorials is highly recommended. I did that, it makes sense eventually. My problem is not the complexity, it’s the randomness. I think this game is way too luck-based and punishes you too much for having bad luck of the draw. I don’t like this game much at all and can’t recommend it, though given that plenty of people do like it maybe you will disagree. For me though this is one of the worst games in this update. I have no interest in playing it again to describe the details of its gameplay, sorry. The game was originally 3DS exclusive, but since has had newer versions made on other formats.
Psycho Pigs – Published by Bergsala-Lightweight in 2016. This is based on a Jaleco arcade game from the ’80s. Psycho Pigs is a remake of a classic arcade action game about pigs throwing bombs at eachother to try to blow eachother up. This one is a bit interesting because the game never released before in the US. It was originally a Japanese arcade game, which, like many Japanese arcade games, got a bunch of ’80s home computer releases in Europe that never got released here in America, which is surely why the Swedish company Bergsala-Lightweight ended up publishing this remake of the game. I believe that this version is the first one we got. It’s kind of odd playing a graphically enhanced remake of a game I’ve never played, but that’s what this is. The game has polygonal character models and is played from an overhead perspective with a single screen, on the upper screen, per level. The lower screen shows your status and such. For such a simple game there are an oddly large number of different things displayed around this screen, including your stats, items, and more.
The controls are simple, either the d-pad or analog stick moves, and you do have analog directional control but not movement speed, you either move or you dont, and two buttons throw bombs and use items. You can switch items with L. Still, though, this is a weird game. Rounds are often incredibly short, first. If someone gets blown up with a bomb they’re out, and with a single not-very-obstructed screen to fight in this usually won’t take long. We’re talking ten or twenty seconds per round, often. There are several ways to blow either your or the other pigs up, including by directly hitting them on the front side of their character, getting blown up by an exploding bomb on the ground since each one has a timer on it which will eventually go off, or being caught in a chain explosion as bombs set eachother off. It is important to note though that hitting someone from the rear doesn’t blow them up, in that case the bomb drops to the ground next to them. The result is a probably overly simplistic, but quite chaotic, game as the four or so different pig characters run around, picking up and throwing bombs at eachother, until only one is left. You can pick up powerups, some of which are items to use and others which will boost your stats.
Naturally, this game would be best in multiplayer. Unfortunately, the multiplayer in this game is local only. If you do have several 3DS systems though, give this a try, it’d probably be fun. Against the AI, though, while the concept is initially entertaining, with incredibly short round lengths and very basic gameplay, I find myself losing interest in this game quickly. It has much less strategy than Bomberman, this is mostly just chaos. It’s moderately amusing but shallow and mediocre. Being a classic arcade game there also isn’t a lot of content. There are arcade modes in several lengths, local multiplayer, and one or two player endless modes. The endless modes are a nice addition, but the gameplay here is my main issue, not the amount of content. I just don’t find this game interesting enough to play for more than a few minutes. If you do stick to it though there are different costume pieces to unlock, which is nice, but with very little depth and somewhat forgettable gameplay I’m not entirely sure why this game got a remake. Still, it’s okay. A bit below average, but okay. This game is strange and obscure and you might want to check it out, but I don’t know if you want to buy it or not. This version of the game is Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Pushmo – Published by Nintendo and developed by Intelligent Systems in 2011. Pushmo is the first game in a series which would have a decent number of entries on the 3DS and Wii U over several years. I mentioned Crashmo, a later title in this franchise, in a prior update, but this game is somewhat different from that one. It is much simpler and easier. In this game, 2d images have turned into 3d puzzles. Each image is made of blocks, and you can pull out the blocks up to three spaces in order to find a route up to the top of the image. This is different from Crashmo in that the image can’t change, you just need to try to figure out the route to climb each otherwise-static picture by pulling out blocks. You move around with the analog stick, jump with A, and . There are a few modifier objects, but for the most part this is a pretty simple game. I like Pushmo, it is good, but I don’t think it has the depth to be great. The totally flat nature of the original pictures limits the game, making the 3d merely isometric, and the unmovable blocks make this really just a game of ‘can you see where to jump to get up’. As I said, it’s just barely good, but that’s it. I’d say I recommend it to genre fans but probably not to everyone. The game does have a puzzle editor where you can make your own stages though, that’s pretty nice. Sadly you can’t share them online, only play them locally. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Puzzle Labyrinth – Published by Circle and developed by Intense in 2016. This is a first-person dungeon crawler puzzle game. Yes, it’s a puzzle game, not an RPG, there is no combat to be found here. Instead, you explore small dungeons and solve puzzles in them. You can pick up items from specific spots and try to figure out where to use them while interacting with the various tricky elements of the current stage as you try to figure out what to do to proceed. This game has simple graphics with solid stereoscopic 3d but very basic dungeon graphics and fine button-based controls. The main draw here, though, is the puzzles, and I would say that it delivers there. This game starts out easy enough, but it gets pretty hard after not that long. Once you’re dealing with warp tiles that travel through time as you try to figure out how to make a flower grow in a specific space and such, you will realize that this game is NOT easy. There isn’t really an in-game hint system, but you can find a guide online. Even if the game is hard it is good, though. Puzzle Labyrinth is a simple but challenging game that any adventure or puzzle game fan should definitely check out. I would say that due to the simple design and sometimes high frustration factor the game is good but not great, but it’s certainly worth a play. This game seems to be 3DS-exclusive, too, so pick it up while you can. It can be compelling. This game is quite different from Intense’s Parascientific Escape trilogy, but is just as much worth getting as the later titles in that series. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
PUZZLEBOX setup – Published by Bplus in 2014. This is a sadly simplistic block-filling puzzle game in which you hold your 3DS upside-down. Yes, really. You hold the system with the upper screen facing you as a lower screen, and play with the stylus on the now-upper lower screen. This means that your hand will be partially obscuring the screen, but that is as intended. There are two modes here, both of which involve dropping colored blocks into spaces that are marked with the correct block color that needs to go into that space. In Classic stages, you go through and auto-scrolling level. The lower screen shows the block pattern you need to fill, with the correct color marked, and you touch the space directly above that spot on the upper screen to drop a block of that color into the space. The 3d screen does have stereoscopic visuals, which is nice. You can’t fill something with the wrong color, the game won’t let you. You can fill empty spaces with blocks of any color, though. The game does keep track of how many blocks you needed to use versus the minimum number, though, so if you want a better rating you should avoid this. The game also keeps track of how long each puzzle took you to complete.
In the other stage type, Copycat, you fill in an image on a single screen. The core gameplay is the same, fill in the blocks wit hthe correct colors, but instead of this time you are actually filling in an image, instead of just filling in blocks for no reason other than to do so. Copycat puzzles can be zoomed out so as to fit more rows of blocks onto the screen, and as expected the game keeps track of how long it took you and teh number of dropped blocks required. The two modes are similar, but the Classic levels are often boring, as you need to wait for the blocks to slowly move onto the screen, so I definitely had more fun with Copycat. Either way, though, this is a very basic game probably mostly for children. After all, you can’t actually get anything wrong and the only challenge is just to hit the button(s) for the correct color(s) in each row. It’s a very basic, overly simplistic game that did not hold my interest. A younger audience might like it though, I don’t know. I’d call this quite forgettably basic, though, apart from the way you hold the system. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Best games in this update:
Picross 3D Round 2
Parascientific Escape: Cruise in the Distant Seas
Picross e series (all 8 games, but particularly the last two)
Worst games in this update:
Pocket Card Jockey
Phasmophobia: Hall of Specters 3D
Phil’s Epic Fill-a-Pix Adventure