And another thing: I hate the way the sun always gets in my eyes in winter. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is against me; it did last night when I glided unaware through some dog mess. Got right in the tread. Will probably need a toothbrush to get that out - I hope my flatmate doesn't mind. Still, when you run yourself a hot bath and sink into a cosy bed you can almost forgive the biting cold and animals - escaping the winter is what makes it memorable.
This review was supposed to be written two days ago. Then it was supposed to be written yesterday. Then it was supposed to be written this morning. Now it's the afternoon and it's still a struggle to stop playing Picross DS for long enough to review it. So it's not just Slitherlink. Picross DS is the latest in the long line of addictive logic puzzle games on Nintendo's handheld that monopolise your every waking moment and imprint themselves on the inside of your eyelids when you're hoping that sleep might offer some respite. So while John Walker gave up on the Game Boy versions of Picross to spend more time with Slitherlink, the release of Picross on the DS might make him want to reconsider.
The chances are that Nintendo's previous picross titles have passed you by, since only one of them (Mario's Picross) got a release outside of Japan, and it was greeted with a groundswell of indifference. Nevertheless, you might be familiar with picross puzzles. Bearing a superficial comparison to Sudoku, Minesweeper and all those, they've appeared in the UK under various names, including Griddler and Nonogram, and in various newspaper puzzle pages (including The Sunday Telegraph and occasional appearance in The Guardian). And they're also freely available across the internet, in varying shades of quality. But they have yet to inflict an onslaught on the commuting classes that's comparable to the enormous success of Sudoku. Which is unfair, because Picross is better than all of its logic puzzle peers (with the possible exception of Slitherlink. Maybe).
Like most logic puzzles, any description is going to be pretty boring: the object is to use logic to shade the correct cells within a grid, in order to produce a rudimentary pixel picture. Imagine, if you can, a grid, with a string of numbers next to each row and column. Those numbers tell you how many contiguous blocks of shaded cells there are in that row or column. So, for example, 2,2,4 tells you that there is a block of two shaded cells; a block of two shaded cells; and a block of four shaded cells; all in a line, in that order, and each separated by at least one unshaded cell. By cross-referencing the strings of numbers you work out which cells to shade, and which cells can't be shaded, and then you use that information to work out where other shaded cells go.
It's only logical for us to tell you that Nintendo has today confirmed Picross for Europe, and aims to pop it in our DS slots on 11th May.