If there is one puzzle game that is popular in Japan, it’s Picross! It was popular on the DS family and now in the era of the Nintendo Switch, developer Jupiter continues the same. If you love the gameplay, you will be happy for new entries. But in order to give at least a little variety, now and then new variations such as Clip Picross or recently introduced Color Picross. Sometimes, however, simply a new coat of paint is enough to make the familiar gameplay seem fresh. Therefore, in the past offshoots of the series, which were presented in the presentation of other well-known brands – for example, there was My Nintendo Picross – The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Nintendo 3DS. Now we look at a crossover between Picross and Overlord for Nintendo Switch. Overlord is a light novel by Japanese author Kugane Maruyama. The Overlord Universe also includes an anime series and games. Let’s see what PICROSS Lord of the Nazarick has to offer.
This combination of Picross and Overlord seems somehow strange and constructed, especially since both have nothing to do with each other. But you do not have to take that too seriously. It is not without reason that puzzles almost never have any real story elements. The fact that it is still trying to bring a fresh breeze in the row and of course, to do some advertising for the other franchise, is not anything to complain about. Anyone who knows Overlord and for the first time comes into contact with Picross through this game will probably discover a new love, because many puzzle fans love the so-called nonograms. Similar to sudoku, there is always the same gameplay principle, but it always packs and brings the gray cells to work. Of course, not every person is an enthusiastic puzzle solver – it only helps to try it out. It’s definitely worth a try and maybe this game will give the overlord fans exactly the right start.
Conversely, if you’re very familiar with Picross, but have no idea about Overlord, PICROSS will give Lord of the Nazarick some variety compared to the usual offshoots, but unfortunately can not really handle the story elements. The puzzles are embedded in story sequences around different characters, they symbolize their memories here. So you can read small stories in text boxes, and from the finished Picross fields arise pictures (as you know it from Picross). For an overlord newcomer like me, it can be hard to keep up with the story, which may be different for fans of course. The good news is: this does not detract from the well-known gameplay, and the beautifully drawn figures provide us with a setting that contrasts positively with the usually neutral and unspectacular Picross menus.
Apart from the presentation, PICROSS offers Lord of the Nazarick the same content as the last offshoot for the Nintendo Switch, PICROSS S3. Again there are the regular picross fields in various sizes, advanced Mega Picross, Picross, where different smaller picross fields at the end of a large overall picture, and also the Color Picross are back on board. If you have ever played picross of any kind you know what you will get in to. Otherwise we recommend checking the trailer at the bottom to have a rough clue to what to expect of the base game.
On different sized squares, consisting of several boxes (checkerboard pattern), you always have to decide which boxes have to be marked and which are not. The necessary information is provided by numbers above each column and to the left of each row. The numbers reveal how many boxes have to be marked. With Mega Picross it gets a bit more difficult, especially as numbers appear, referring to two adjacent rows or columns at the same time. Color Picross also specify different colors, which you must select when filling the boxes. The whole gameplay is really difficult to penetrate, if you only read about it at first. My clear recommendation, however, is to try it out for yourself. Only then will you know if you could become an enthusiastic Picross player or if the gameplay is not for you.
An interesting point compared to other Picross offshoots is the menu structure. In PICROSS Lord of the Nazarick, you will not be faced with the lightest and later larger, more complex puzzle sets, as usual, but you choose between different characters: Ainz, Narberal, Shalltear, Cocytus, Sebas, Demiurge, Lupusregina, Aura & Mare as well as Albedo are directly selectable and can therefore be clicked according to your preferences. This is followed by a dialogue that is not spoken but presented with German-language texts. Afterwards, you will be able to solve 9 Picross puzzles per character – so for 9 characters there are 81 in total. The same number of Mega Picross are also available.
With only so few Picross per character the difficulty increases quickly. So it’s up to you if you accept this challenge, play through the part of your chosen character and you get rewarded with more story sequences, or switch between characters and work on the easier puzzles before you upgrade later on. As with PICROSS S3, Color Picross does not have that many – 3 per character and 27 in total. There are relatively many Clip Picross offered: 330 puzzles in total, for each character there is a clip Picross available. However, these will only be unlocked once the conventional Picross tasks have been successfully completed. Finally, the galleries are worth mentioning, in which you unlock different images during the game.
PICROSS Lord of the Nazarick offers us a crossover between Picross and Overlord, The game mainly aims to invite fans of either series to try out the other. Totally convincable this surely isn’t. The combination of story elements with Picross puzzles looks a bit forced, even if they do not spoil the usual brilliant gameplay. Overlord newbies will have a hard time orienting themselves in the story treats. As a pure Picross fan, you can just ignore the whole thing, enjoy the nice presentation and get straight to the puzzles. For the Overlord fans it is not guaranteed that they will also enjoy the game, but since this has proven itself for many years, it is at least worth a try. Compared to the last offshoot PICROSS S3 nothing has changed significant apart from the presentation. Furthermore, there is no touch screen support and a little convincing multiplayer mode, but over 500 puzzles from the categories Picross, Mega Picross, Color Picross and Clip Picross can always give you a satisfying time.
PICROSS Lord of the Nazarick is another great Picross game, but fans of Overlord will have to try it out before they know if this is worth the purchase.