Solomon's Key

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a game by Tecmo
Genre: Arcade Classics
Platform: NESNES
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 6.2/10 - 9 votes
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See also: Solomon's Key Games
Solomon's Key
Solomon's Key
Solomon's Key
Solomon's Key

If we browse through the unbelievably unique and thought-provoking puzzle games that we have had grace our screens in the last few years such as The Witness, Gorogoa or The Talos Principle, it’s easy to see why the genre has seen a revival within this time. However, this type of game has been around since the beginning of video games as a medium, creating experiences for players that would test their cognitive ability while aiming to also capture their imagination with interesting worlds, fun characters and unique mechanics. Solomon’s Key was an arcade and NES classic that aimed to do just that, but in the light of 2020, just how does it compare to today’s competition.

This game is a rather simplistic block-based puzzler that plays similarly to games like Escape Goat, Bomb Jack, The Swapper and Fez. In Solomon’s key, you will have the power to create and remove blocks with magic to trap enemies, build staircases and ultimately, open the door that will lead you to your next Puzzle.

Rough and Retro

The aspect of this title that will be most apparent when you load it up is the visuals. While retro, pixellated titles can look fantastic many years on this one certainly doesn’t fall into this bracket. The game looks very rough around the edges with character models, enemy models and environments that look dated and at times, are rather hard to figure out what they are meant to be. The positive is that the visuals are at least bright and vibrant and although the models are a little basic in nature, we have to commend the variety of models on offer from this older title.

Gameplay thankfully offers a much more refined experience than the visuals can. You’ll have a block-based set of puzzles to navigate that will have you build structures to reach areas, collect potions that will allow you to cast fireballs, which are very effective to kill your enemies. However, if you’re smart you can use blocks to trap them instead for an out of sight out of mind approach.

What you will notice though is that the difficulty of the puzzles isn’t down to the design or the enemies on screen. The real enemy that will hinder your progression is the time limit you have to complete each stage. While this can up the intensity in some areas, it also feels like a rather artificial way to make a puzzle title difficult and really shows how far puzzle games have come.

Puzzles Aplenty

While making the puzzles cognitively challenging may not have been the priority, giving the player plenty of busy work to do sure was. There are so many puzzles for the player to complete considering the primitive nature of the title. So if you want a retro puzzler that gives you value for money, we have to admit that this one is top of the pile.

An Off Key Performance

This game certainly has something to offer players who are able to accept the shortcomings of this era of gaming. These things may be the fun and varied puzzle-solving mechanics, the plethora of puzzles to solve or the intense time attack format. However, the game is visually well under par with models and renderings that often have you questioning what you are actually looking at, the gameplay isn’t really all that challenging and the sound is repetitive and annoying into the bargain as well.


As we said, there is something here for retro gaming aficionados but for casual gamers looking to find a retro classic, this probably isn’t the hidden gem that you’re in search of.


  • Plenty of puzzles to solve
  • A variety of different enemies


  • Artificial difficulty spike caused by a time limit
  • Enemies have very predictable AI
  • Music is obnoxious and repetitive
  • Visuals have aged poorly

Download Solomon's Key


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • P-200, 32 MB RAM

Snapshots and Media

NES/Famicom/Dendy Screenshots

See Also

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