Pictlogica works. As a game that gets me to play it, not as one that gets me to spend money. So it fails. I am sure there are people at Square Enix who are much happier with the folk who spend $60 on gems and then forget about the game. Less server costs, right? I hope there are people who are happy that people like me try to figure out the best way to solve each puzzle to beat the enemies in the best way possible. I like those kinds of people.
Discovering one particular game mechanic was the moment that I fell in love with the idea of the game, and began hoping in my heart for a 3DS version where everything is packed in from the start, available to me for only spending my time and not any more cash.
In Pictlogica the order of your attacks is based on the order in which you do the rows in the Picross puzzle. So if the Black Mage who does little damage by plunking an enemy with his rod hits the enemy with little health left, this is much more optimal that your beefy Fighter swinging her sword and its massive damage into the same, ready-to-die enemy.
Yet the Black Mage may not be the simplest line of the puzzle to solve this time. A “1-1” takes more time to figure out than a “5” line, which may be sitting right at the Fighter’s fingertips, begging you to swipe your finger and get it over with.
Then they added four different attack modes. You pick whichever you want before the next round of attacks and then solve the puzzle. Power increases the damage done by physical attacks. Wisdom fills up the bar that puts the characters into the powerful Break Mode faster[ref]This bar, which drains as you solve the puzzle, also drains faster in this mode.[/ref]. Prayer restores some HP and Defense does what it says on the tin. Learning the enemy patterns[ref]Not the most complex patterns, but still there.[/ref] and taking advantage of the four different modes elevates this from a pure money-grab to a money-grab with love behind it.
Buried deep by developers and designers who still want to make good games that people think about.