Hoo boy, I’d forgotten how very hard the Columns series of games can be. But yes indeed, this port of Columns II: A Voyage Through Time ($7.99) from the SEGA AGES lineup comes highly recommended if you want a match-3 game that’s constantly entertaining while you get used to the ropes. Also included in this solid M2 port is a a Mega Drive/Genesis port of the original Columns, so you can get schooled by the AI in two games. The coolest thing about the sequel is M2 has wisely added a tabletop mode feature where the co-op play switches Player 2’s screen 180 degrees for face-to-face battles, quite a nice thing to see as an addition.
The game lures you in with some gorgeous art (a bit of lovely Mucha-like imagery for the senses is the first thing that greets you), but even at the easiest setting the game will beat you like an angry drummer or a polite Gene Krupa doing a rapid fire solo. Nevertheless, when the pace gets speedier you’ll be beaten like an egg here as you learn to play. This turns out to be a good thing, as the only means of seeing more here is by getting better. It’s funny that I’m using “git gud” for the second time this week, but like the last time, it fits the case. It’s a game that masters will appreciate, but those who haven’t the skills down will find themselves going to until (and past) the ending. Like it should be, coming back to the game that was giving you grief to one where you’re seeing how the AI responds to a better player doesn’t ever get old.
I’d go as far as to say that in a way, this is one of those games where the appeal lies in both the persistence of the player and the compelling nature of the game experience. Who’dathunk it, right? Of course, it’s going to be a very niche game for some and I might be overthinking things here by describing it above the way I did. On the other hand, games are seen as disposable these days or forgettable by some who think flashier visuals and things blowing up all the time are the epitome of the hobby. Meh, I say to that. I like many types of games and this is one where indeed, practice makes perfect if you stick to it. Longevity is the key here with this one, so I’m fine with the ones who turn up their noses to what’s here.
M2 adds a few of the usual filter modes here and also allows for online leaderboard play and scores. so you can’t stay awful at this what with the scores being recorded and all. Or you can, but keep at it until those scores get better. For the money spent, if this gets its hooks into you, it may be a go-to until it’s mastered and you’re resting comfortably at he top of the leaderboards… well, until someone rather ungraciously unseats you by accident or with intent. So goes a game like this, I guess. So. were done here. correct? Well. I’ll go sneak out quietly so you get some practice in. Yes, I see those leaderboard stars in your eyes clearly, sparkly gems and such that they are.
Score: A- (90%)
-Review code provided by the publisher