GAME REVIEWS

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Columns

~ COLUMNS ~
Telenet / Sega
HuCard
1991

Porting Columns to the PC Engine wasn't exactly a high-risk proposition for Telenet. Still, they did a job worthy of commendation with this conversion; it's a fine rendition of Sega's solid gemstone-placement puzzler. The PCE stands tall in performing the semi-brooding soundtrack (which was always the game's greatest strength). And I must say that I really dig the cover art.

Columns is no Puyo Puyo in any respect, as it lacks that title's charisma, charm, and vigor. It isn't as clever in concept as seminal Tetris, nor is it as addictive. But it remains one of the more enjoyable well-puzzle games released during its day, and playing it can actually be rather relaxing: you may find yourself in a comfortable zone amidst the methodical block-dropping and atmospheric score.


Your job is to make gems vanish by lining up three or more of a kind. There's a brief tutorial just in case you're baffled by that incredibly complicated concept.


Practice mode offers more options for customizing your play experience than does Arcade...


...but the mode you choose might just come down to which of the respective color sets you prefer.


Your point total will really soar if you can knock out lots of blocks at once and set off chain reactions.


Most of your chains will be pleasant surprises rather than products of clever maneuvering, but you can put yourself in position for success by setting up diagonal connections and combinations.


"Wildcard" gemsets will occasionally bail you out of jams.

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