Geoff Girardin

REVIEW: Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons

Geoff Girardin

If you're looking for a great Picross game, you've found it. If you're looking for a celebration of the Story of Seasons franchise, you've found that too.

Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons is slated for release on February 27th, 2024 on Steam and Nintendo Switch. More than fun with numbers, what I found over the course of over a hundred puzzles was actually a stark reverence for a beloved franchise.

To set the scene, I am a sucker for filling little boxes. Mild number problems are an enjoyable way for me to relax and turn my brain off, and it's even better when a new picture is revealed at the end. This is likely why I have such a deep affection for Picross (aka nonograms) and any fun wrapping they may come in. I've played Mario's Picross and Mario's Super Picross to death. The Twilight Princess Picross released for MyNintendo members back in 2016? Dominated it. Crappy, ad-filled bloatware marketed as Picross for iPhone? Yeah, I've probably played it.

Geoff Girardin Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons developed by Score Studios

With Piczle Cross, I was initially a bit taken aback. As the Harvest Moon franchise split in two and took faltering steps over the years, I was unsure about the quality of the game booting up on my Steam Deck. Would this be a by-the-numbers (pun intended) nonogram with some franchise art thrown over it? The cartoonish style of the characters on the key art is nice enough but different from my expectations enough to cause concern. Perhaps most importantly, would the pixel art be up to snuff?

The answer is a resounding "sort of."

Picross puzzles are a selection of blocks that you must select or deselect according to the numbers provided. A little bit Minesweeper, a little bit Sudoku, the blocks you select ultimately create a cute piece of pixel art. The issue in this case is that the pixel art isn't always impressive.

At least at first! Because just as I was lamenting the Axe puzzle, I unlocked a Collage Puzzle. These are larger, more intricate pictures that are made up of multiple, smaller puzzles. The combined result creates a beautiful representation of various festivals celebrated across Story of Seasons games. After whetting my appetite for stunning visuals, I went back to the standard puzzles and found that the quality quickly improved over the course of the game. You won't need to wait for Puzzle 246 to see some good pixel art!

Geoff Girardin Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons developed by Score Studios

As mentioned, I use Picross games to unwind, and the music doesn't disappoint. The soundtrack is taken straight from titles such as Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town, granting a hefty dose of nostalgia as I revealed a picture of the Mayor's hat. What's more, each puzzle unlocked an entry into the game's Almanac, which serves as a notebook explainer for each Story of Seasons title. You're able to unlock entries about each character with official artwork, a micro biography, and their likes and dislikes. It's the sort of fun little addition you'd see in a release such as, say, Mega Man Legacy Collection.

I can't really speak too highly about Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons. It's a delightful journey through a beloved farming series. It's an enjoyable and entertaining nonogram title. It was a blast to play, and I couldn't be more excited to dive back in some more.

Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons will be released on Steam and Nintendo Switch eShop on February 27th, 2024. A review code was provided by PR Hound.