With Malacañang allowing two Chinese firms previously blacklisted for corruption by the World Bank to be involved in Marawi’s rehabilitation, ICE losing almost 1,500 undocumented children they’ve forcibly removed from parents awaiting asylum hearings, & that disastrous interview with the cast of Arrested Development, it hasn’t been a great week. But that shouldn’t stop me from looking at the bright side. If Ireland was able to repeal its abortion ban, then maybe things aren’t as bad they seem. Inspired by NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, let’s take a look at what’s making me happy this week.
I love playing Picross. If you don’t know what it is, you are either in for a treat or trouble. Also known as Nonograms or Griddlers, it’s a puzzle where you have to fill in the correct cells on a grid based on the numbers on the side of the grid, which would reveal a picture. The mechanics are simple, but it’s fun, addictive & engrossing. I could play it for hours, even if it can get frustrating & complicated.
I still have fond memories playing Picross DS on the Nintendo DS I share with my cousin back when I was in college. It was the first time I tried it & I was immediately sucked in thanks to its simple mechanics & interface. My favorite iteration was Picross 3D, which was essentially Picross with a cube. These two games are perfect for handheld’s then-unique touchscreen controls, & the fact that you can play them anywhere & anytime is a huge plus.
I didn’t get to play Picross again after my Nintendo DS broke thanks to its faulty hinge. I never sought it out afterwards, because it came at a time where my interest to play video games dropped. But when Polygon published a video enumerating the best free Picross games a few days ago, & oh boy did it reignite one of my forgotten passions.
There are a bunch of free Picross games cited in the video above, depending on how familiar you are with the game & where you plan to play it. I chose Picross Luna, a free mobile Picross game that has a story about a cursed moon keeper. You advance the story by solving each puzzle inside a huge 10 x 10 grid that reveals a bigger picture. I still haven’t gotten that far with the story mode, since it takes a very long time to complete a bigger image. There are also normal puzzles you can solve, which is great for those who want to feel that buzz of accomplishment sooner in their heads. It’s wrapped in a beautiful, soothing aesthetic, filled with cooler colors & calm, ambient music that ensures you’ll rarely get stressed; even as the difficulty increases. That effect does get ruined by the ads that quickly play after you solve a puzzle, but it’s a small caveat for what is essentially a free game.
If you are interested in playing Picross on your smartphone, you should only play Picross Luna if you are familiar with the basics. It doesn’t have a great tutorial, so beginners can get lost easy. I highly recommend checking out the other Picross games in the video to find out what suits you.
I’m so glad I watched that Polygon video. It reminded me of one of my favorite pastimes that I somehow lost interest in. I don’t see that happening again soon, especially since now that I have it on my phone, I can play it at my own convenience. I will definitely lose some sleep thanks to this game, but it will be worth it, especially once I unlock those big pictures.