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CONSOLE: Nintendo Switch DEVELOPER: Jupiter PUBLISHER: Jupiter
RELEASE DATE (NA): July 25, 2019 GENRE: Puzzle
// review by SoyBomb

Overlorded with lore.

If you've never read, seen, or even heard of the Overlord novel, manga, or anime series, then you will be overwhelmed by the very thick storyline that envelops the gameplay. Unless you already have some background about Overlord, the plot will be mostly gibberish and you'll be skipping it. The storyline basically involves Lord Ainz Ooal Gown (you can't make these names up) reviewing previous exploits with his disciples by sifting through files and uncovering pictures...through the power of picross! Oh, and did I mention the whole universe is based around a DMMORPG (Dive Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game - yeah, what?) and this Ainz guy trying to figure out whether his world and the online world have merged?

WOT? You've never played picross before? Have you been living under a picross-deflecting rock? I won't go into a full dissertation on the inner workings of picross, but basically, you play on variously-sized grids (5x5, 10x5, 20x15, etc.) and at the edge of each row and column is a number or set of numbers corresponding to the number of squares you need to fill in. More than one number indicates there will be a gap between them that is left unfilled. Your job is to figure out which squares to chisel away and which ones to leave alone. Once you learn the little tricks that make the game work, it becomes second nature. Lord of the Nazarick also provides tutorials for its picross play styles so that beginners need not feel ostracized. Each puzzle is a drawing related to the Overlord franchise, either characters or related mystical objects, although, again, you may very well not know who or what any of them are. At least you get a nicely hand-drawn image when you complete a standard puzzle, plus a gallery of quality images.

This game has me puzzled.

Surprisingly, there are more styles of play than just regular picross. Color Picross provides the opportunity to inject the grid squares with different colours, except it's up to you to figure out which colour each square is, and only numbers of the same colour will have gaps between them for certain. Clip Picross has you completing a quantity of smaller picross puzzles to create one larger picture. And Mega Picross will bite you in the butt with additional rules about groups of squares combining across two rows or columns, enough to make your head literally untwist itself from your neck. In all, there are 519 puzzles to try; that's nothing to scoff at. Part of your limited life span will be sucked away by this game.

The game plays exactly as you'd expect if you're a picross fan. In fact, the interface is practically identical to that of the various other Jupiter-developed picross titles on the Switch, particularly their Picross S series. Minimal effort was made to change the look of the playing board; why rock the boat when you can just change the background colours to beige and brown to create a new game? The audio is creepy but forgettable; it's a picross game, so all you get is foreboding music and little else. Expect no voiceovers whatsoever, but considering the anime has yet to receive an English release anyhow, more effort would have been needed than simply rounding up the English cast to record another few lines here and there.

Lord of the Nazarick is mostly for picross fans, and as a picross game, it's what you'd expect with no frills. But it's so heavily caked with Overlord cutscenes and backstory, fans of the series will have a field day. The lore is thicker than an all-tomato gazpacho, and so much of it goes over my head.

Come for the puzzles, stay for the weird skeleton lord dude.

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