One of the Japanese Nintendo Switch launch games is a revival of a classic puzzler. City Connection is creating a sequel to Soldam, a Jaleco Entertainment puzzle game that debuted in Japanese arcades in 1992, then found its way to the Game Boy in Japan in 1993. Soldam 2 has been confirmed for a worldwide release, which means it’d be wise to find out what this game’s all about.
To start, Soldam and Soldam 2’s characters may look familiar. Rit and Tam, the two fairies, originally appeared in Rod Land, which appeared on multiple platforms. Though, people in Europe probably know them from the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy versions of the game, while those in North America would recognize them from DotEmu’s Apple iOS port of Rod Land: A Fairy Tale. In their original game, a platformer with puzzle elements, Rit and Tam would need to use magic to ascend a tower and save their mother. Here, it’s all about changing the color of and eliminating soldam blocks.
At first glance, Soldam looks like a standard falling block puzzle. The twist comes in the combination. The soldams, function like pieces in Othello. Let’s use the screenshot below above paragraph as an example. The block of four soldams falling has two blue and two red soldams. If they are dropped in that same position, without rotating them, next to the outcropping in the fourth and fifth rows, then the blue soldam in the upper left corner of the group of four will cause the two red soldams in the fifth row to turn blue. The blue soldam in the in the lower left corner will also turn the sole red soldam in the third row blue. Colors can be cleared in horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines.
Here’s the next important part of Soldam. Let’s continue using the screenshot above as the example. If the only red soldam in the third row turns blue, then it will be eliminated. Points will be earned and that row will go down to the very bottom of the screen. That bottom row, which will always be one color, is there to help you continue to clear lines. Think of it like a control group.
Soldam can be played alone or competitively against another player. The original entry had a normal endless mode, a technical mode where you were attempting to clear rows to pass levels and reach an ending at level 60, and a versus mode for two players. Soldam 2 will have bring these three modes back, but also add something of a practice mode. In this new mode, people will be able to control the rate at which the soldam drop. In the other modes, soldam are always gradually falling.
With Soldam, you always need to be thinking about how you want to drop blocks and be ready to set up chains that will change multiple rows to the color you want or need at the perfect time. It’s one of those games that looks simple, but can be surprisingly deep. Should you decide to pick it up from the Japanese eShop at launch, be sure to spend plenty of time practicing before facing an actual opponent.
Soldam 2 will be coming to the Nintendo Switch in Japan on March 3, 2017. It will cost ¥1,500 in the Nintendo eShop. A North American and European release date has yet to be announced.