Picross 3D is a pseudo-sequel to Picross DS. As with the original game, the player's goal is to uncover the hidden image by using the number clues as a guide. Unlike Picross DS, where the puzzles were flat, in this game, each puzzle is encased in a cube of a varying size and shape. By chipping away and rotating the cube, the player can reveal the hidden picture.
The game has approximately 350 puzzles, across a variety of different themes. Each puzzle is grouped into a particular theme, such as Beach, Sports, or Fire. When all the puzzles are found for a theme, a medal is added to the theme to indicate that it is complete. Nearly every puzzle has a possibility for a three star rating. To earn all three stars, the player must:
Solve the puzzle;
Complete the puzzle within the time limit;
Not make any mistakes.
As with Picross DS, this game features a puzzle creator. The player can create their own puzzles and then, using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, send them onto the Internet to trade with friends, as well as receive additional ones.