Columns is the first attempt by Sega to reproduce the action and strategy of a Tetris-style game for the Genesis. The game is unique and plays good, but it's not in the same league as Tetris. A nice diversion with the usually well-rounded 16-Bit features, but not incredible.
A fantastic game that is just different enough from Tetris to develop it's own following. It is better than Tetris in that you have to think in more than just the typical horizontal and vertical directions. By adding diagonal matches throws in a third dimension!
Columns is a decent falling-shape puzzle game with a Klax-inspired twist. The speed and execution of the game are good, but the theme gets tiring after a while. It's more difficult to save yourself from mistakes, lending a bit of futility to the whole thing. Nice try.
A new diversion to the Tetris type theme, both colorful and satisfying to keep me coming back. Rotate and arrange different colored crystals in vertical, horizontal and diagonal formations of three of the same. Crystals dissolve faster than the value of the Yen! For blockheads only!
Prepare to journey through time with the ancients to a place where magical jewels tumble from the skies. When you reach this mystic gem show you'll face a challenge that requires quick reflexes, intuition, and steady nerves. With practice you'll be ready to take on the ancients themselves.
Match and Catch
Welcome to the world of Columns, an arcade title that's now the first Tetris-style puzzler available for the Genesis. From the moment the first bewitching strains of music twine around your brain cells, you'll find this game is very hard to put down.
As the game begins, sets of three jewels in vertical columns come drifting down from the top of the screen. Your task is to stack the jewels in such a way that they form horizontal, vertical, or diagonal rows of the same color. As each column falls you can move it to the left or the right and change the order of the jewels in the column.
ProTip: When a column appears that has two Jewels of the same color you should first check if you have a third jewel to match them and if not, quickly switch the similarly colored jewels to me top of the column so they're easily accessible for a match.
Once a column lands you have two last chances to quickly change the order of the jewels. When you create a row of jewels of the same color, they vanish, you score points, and the other jewels in your stack shift and drop into the openings left by the vanished jewels. Sometimes this creates a chain reaction of vanishing jewels.
As you reach higher levels a set of Wild Card Tiles may appear. Quickly scan your screen to see which color jewel you have the most of. Guide the magic jewels to land on this color and ah the jewels of the color vanish from the screen!
As more and more jewels drop you reach higher levels and the game becomes more difficult as the jewels drop faster and faster. Your game ends of the stack of jewels reaches the top of the screen.
- Always try to drop jewels in such a way as to keep your stack as low as possible. As your stack gets higher you have less and less time to react in order to place your jewels.
- Once you've got the hang of the game try to keep an eye on the window at the top of the screen that previews the next set of three jewels. By the time a column appears on the screen, you should already know where you're going to put it.
Columns for Two
Columns also includes several different game options to make it even more entrancing. In the Arcade Mode one or two players can go head-to-head or-play completely independently at easy, medium, or hard levels of play. The game tracks the number of jewels dropped, the point score, and the level reached -- so compete any which way you like.
For a more strategic style of play try setting the game to Difficult and then pausing it as the columns appear on screen. You can take your time deciding where to place the jewels, which makes for a different game.
In the Original Mode (which is easier than the Arcade Mode) one or two players can compete head-to-head or try doubles, where players take turns placing the jewels. This mode also enables you to select difficulty, pick levels, and even create a time trial situation. There are also three different ancient melodies to lull you into the appropriate state of mind.
It may take a while for Columns to reel you in. There's much more to the game than initially meets the eye. Graphically the game is simple, but the sound and the playability are excellent. Check it out in the arcades and you'll see that Columns definitely stacks up!