Mario no Super Picross is the Super Famicom sequel to the Game Boy title Mario’s Picross. This game builds on the pixel-chiseling puzzle gameplay introduced by its predecessor with more puzzles that are larger and even more challenging and new rules courtesy of the “Wario’s Picross” mode. Originally a Japan-only title when it was released in 1995, Mario no Super Picross was released in PAL territories via the Wii Virtual Console for 900 Wii points in September of 2007.
The basic puzzle solving mechanics and gameplay have carried over from Nintendo’s first Picross title. The puzzles involve a square grid of cells where the player must determine which cells should be colored in (or in the case of this game chiseled away) and which should be left blank. Numbers along the top and left side of the grid indicate the number and size of unbroken lines of filled in cells there are in the given row or column that are separated by at least one blank cell. For instance, if a row has the numbers “2 5 4”, that means that there are from left to right, a group of two colored in cells, a group of five colored in cells, and a group of four colored in cells, with all other cells being left blank and at least one blank cell between each group. Players are given the ability to mark cells with an “X” that should be left blank.
In “Mario’s Picross” mode, each puzzle must be completed within a 30 minute time limit. Mistakes penalize the player by reducing the remaining time. The first mistake will remove one minute and the amount of penalized time doubles for each additional mistake. If the timer reaches 0:00, the game is over and the player must restart the puzzle. The player is given the option of receiving a hint at the start of each puzzle. This hint reveals the solution for a randomly selected row and column. At any point during the puzzle the player can also elect to give up five minutes of time to receive another hint.
“Wario’s Picross” mode alters the gameplay in several ways. The time limit of Mario’s mode is removed, and the timer now simply counts up and tracks how long the player takes to complete the puzzle. There are also no hints available in this mode. The biggest change though is that there is no direct penalty for making a mistake, but those mistakes are not indicated to the player which presents a unique challenge.
Mario no Picross offers a total of 300 different puzzles of varying sizes and difficulties distributed almost equally between the two modes. Puzzles are grouped together in levels. Completing puzzles unlocks higher levels with larger and more difficult puzzles. Whenever a puzzle is completed, it becomes a color image, animates, and the title of the puzzle is revealed. Puzzles come in sizes of 5x5, 10x10, 15x15, 20x20, and 20x25. The game can track progress on two separate save game files and also allows the player to save at any point during a puzzle and resume at a later time from the same point. The fastest puzzle completion times are tracked for each puzzle.
Nintendo Power Picross
The same basic gameplay engine from Mario no Picross was used in Nintendo’s Picross NP series that was distributed via their Satellaview system in Japan. A total of eight volumes of puzzles were released in the Nintendo Power branded series. These games included many puzzles that when solved revealed images of characters from various Nintendo franchises including The Legend of Zelda and Star Fox.