Video Game / Picross
aka: Marios Picross

Picross is a Nintendo picture puzzle series. In it, the player discovers hidden pictures by filling in blocks in a grid. The numbers along the top and left side of the grid provide clues as to which blocks should be filled in.

The puzzles in this game are just like Conceptis' Pic-a-Pix puzzles, and are also called nonograms and other names.

The games in the Picross series are:

Tropes Used in Picross:

  • Allegedly Free Game: Pokémon Picross runs on this model with "Picrites", a currency that needs to be spent to do anything beyond just solving available puzzles. Picrites can be received for progressing through the game or by completing the daily challenges, but not very quickly; on average it takes about a week and a half to unlock each new set of puzzles. Unlike other games, Nintendo does put a cap on how much real money you can spend (after which Picrites are free), but that cap is around $30 when each Picross-e download is only $6.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: 3D Round 2 introduces a few:
    • There's a hint function that tells you what row or column you should work on next, with no penalty to your score.
    • The bomb automatically removes all rows and columns marked with a 0, saving quite a bit of time and the hassle of removing them yourself.
    • Unlike the first game where puzzles were sorted by difficulty, they're now sorted by themes and you can adjust the difficulty yourself, allowing you to play the game at your own pace.
    • There's no five-strike system anymore; you can mess up as often as you need without fear of losing (one-chance challenges notwithstanding).
    • Whereas the first game used stars to rank your performance in a puzzle (one for completing the level, one for doing it with no penalty, and one for doing it quick enough), the second uses plain points and jewels. In addition to making some puzzles easier to access, it removes a lot of stress when solving a puzzle, as you don't necessarily need to do a No-Damage Run to get the best jewels anymore.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: The Alt-World in Pokémon Picross rehashes all of the puzzles into Mega Picross puzzles. Keyword is rehashes; all of the puzzles are more or less the same, just with a Mega Picross gimmick. In addition, Mega Picross doesn't give any Picrite rewards like the main puzzles do.
  • Bowdlerise: The Japanese version of Mario's Picross had pictures not seen in the North American release. These mainly depicted alcoholic beverages, Japanese Youkai monsters, and on one occasion, tobacco. All of these were changed due to Nintendo of America's strict censorship policies at the time.
  • Call-Back: Check around the room in 3D Round 2 when you complete a puzzle or view its description, and you'll see one of the puzzles from the first game as a toy.
  • Console Cameo: Both Mario's Picross and DS include puzzles of Nintendo systems (Mario's just has one of the Game Boy, DS has a whole series of them).
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: 3D only has options to destroy blocks or mark them to prevent them from being destroyed by accident; marking was optional and didn't yield any penalty if you marked a block that's supposed to be broken. Round 2 spices things up a bit by having two colors of paint, and this time marking them with the right color is mandatory; it's easy to forget about it and mark a block with the wrong color by accident, thus earning a penalty, until you get used to it.
  • Fake Longevity: Picross-e6, Pokemon Picross and even the Twilight Princess Picross titles have had the Mega Picross puzzles be re-hashes of the normal Picross puzzles, which means basically solving the same puzzles twice for full completion. In the earlier Picross-e titles, both modes had different puzzles.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The goal of Pokémon Picross, except you do it by solving Picross puzzles.
  • Grid Puzzle: A given since the game is basically solving nonograms.
  • Mons: Used in Pokémon Picross as the game's primary gimmick. Pokémon you complete Picross of are caught and collected, and Pokémon can then be added to a team. The team supports the player by providing a variety of support abilities that make the game easier.
  • Nintendo Hard: Some of the puzzles in all games can get pretty brutal, and require more than a little guesswork to solve. It doesn't help that in Mario's Super Picross, some of the puzzles were changed for the Virtual Console version, which means that walkthroughs may not be accurate.
  • Oddball in the Series: 3D, since the execution of such puzzles in three dimensions is so different.
  • Old Save Bonus: Picross-e games starting with e4 unlock extra puzzles if you have save data from Picross-e to e3.
  • Play Every Day:
    • Since DS, the 2D installments have included "Daily Picross", where once a day you're challenged to solve a series of 7x7 puzzles in the lowest time possible. In Pokémon Picross, this mode awards Picrites and is the only reliable way to farm them without paying real money.
    • Pokémon Picross also encourages frequent check-ins by having a rare Pokémon appear for a brief time every couple days, though once that Pokémon is caught its puzzle is unlocked for good.
  • Portmanteau: Picross = picture crossword.
  • Revenue-Enhancing Devices: Picross 3D: Round 2 has extra puzzles unlocked by certain amiibo figures.note 
  • Save Scumming: Possible in both Picross 3D games, as well as the Virtual Console re-releases of the Mario's Picross games. In the case of 3D Round 2, however, the game asks you if you want to delete your mid-puzzle save if you quit, so you must be careful not to erase it by accident.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: Common, as Super, NP, DS, and -e all qualify. 3D doesn't; as while titles with "3D" are often associated with the Nintendo 3DS, in this case it refers to the gameplay which actually debuted on the original DS.
  • Time Trial: Completing the Star course in Mario's Picross unlocks time trial mode, where you solve a random picross as quickly as possible. In this mode, you have unlimited time, but mistakes aren't revealed. In Mario's Super Picross, Wario has an entire set of puzzles like this, unlocked after you beat the first level of Mario's own set of puzzles.
  • Title Drop: Done subtly and sneakily in Mario's Super Picross; when put together, the first eight puzzles in the game on Mario's Level 1 form マリオのピクロス (ma-ri-o-no-pi-ku-ro-su), aka "Mario's Picross".

Alternative Title(s): Marios Picross