STay Atari! Part 3: PicrossST

November 20, 2008

Stay Atari? Lucky for us some people have. Obviously fans of Nintendo’s Picross series (with versions appearing on the Game Boy, Super Nintendo and DS), the PicrossST Team have brought the incredibly simple and addictive nonogram game to the Atari ST in the form of PicrossST.


A nonogram is a logic puzzle in which cells must be coloured in according to the numbers along the upper and left edges of the puzzle. For example, a row with the numbers 7 and 2 indicates that row must have a line of seven cells filled in and then a line of two, with at least a one cell gap between them. As you fill in cells, more information is made available about neighbouring cells, making it possible to intuit whether they are to be filled in or not.

This form of puzzle lends itself well to videogames due to the pixel-oriented nature of their displays. Each puzzle therefore results in a little mono sprite. Quite nice for the pixel painters amongst you.


PicrossST’s implimentation of nonogram logic is flawless, and the puzzles themselves are well devised, with early puzzles featuring large chunks of filled-in cells making the first few levels a gentle introduction to the game. Things soon start to get more challenging and your inevitable mistakes will start to eat away at your time limit and when that timer reaches zero it’s game over. My mistakes were initially made more frequent by the control system; when trying to drag the cursor across multiple cells, it is all too easy to select an inintended box. Once you learn to allow for this and just select each cell individually, this niggle is easily avoided.


Main menu aside, the game is accompanied by some lovely pixel art, with beautifully crafted nonogram screens and game over/success screens. The animated pause screen is particularly cute. There is a couple of nice tracker tunes in there too, all of which adds up to a nicely presented package.


I’m a big fan of Nintendo’s Picross games, especially the hand-held iterations, and it’s a joy to see a similar nonogram title on the ST. With a hundred puzzles in the game and puzzle packs and a puzzle editor available from the website, there is plenty here to keep you occupied for some time to come.

Score: stickstickstickhalfstick


Games featured in “STay Atari!” so far


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