Abandoned Pokémon Picross game resurfaces after 20 years

(Image credit: Nintendo)

An unreleased Pokémon game that never saw the light of day is now playable. The massive ongoing Nintendo 'gigaleak' has dredged up a playable version Pokémon Picross, which was canned ahead of its planned release in 1999.

Pokémon Picross was advertised in Japanese gaming magazines in the spring of 1999. Developed by Jupiter Corporation, who would eventually release a free-to-play Pokémon Picross game for the 3DS in 2015, the original version was due to launch on the Game Boy and Game Boy Colour.

Despite those adverts, the game was eventually canned, although no reason was ever provided for that decision. It does, however, grant Pokémon Picross the dubious honour of being the only major Pokémon title to be cancelled after its announcement.

Earlier this week, the game’s appeared on 4Chan, allowing Pokémon YouTuber Lewtwo to begin playing it and documenting their findings. In a thread on Twitter, Lewtwo describes a number of in-game features, suggesting that “this game appears to be fully complete,” making its cancellation even more confusing.

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Given the timing of its would-be release, Pokémon Picross’ reliance on Pikachu as a main character isn’t that surprising, but a bunch of other first-generation creatures also make an appearance. Bulbasaur shows up in World 2, while Poliwhirl, Parasect, Venonat, and many more appear in other screenshots.

The long-forgotten project might finally have seen the light of day, but getting your hands on it is still likely to prove tricky unless you’re prepared to go delving into the forums. Elsewhere, the ‘gigaleak’ has turned up the source code for a suite of classic Nintendo games, from Super Mario 64 to Ocarina of Time

Otherwise, why not check out our best Nintendo Switch games currently available?

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.