Soldam: Drop, Connect, Erase (Switch)

Soldam is a colorful puzzle game that’s like a cross between Tetris and Othello.  It’s reminiscent of puzzle games from the 90’s (because it actually was), and it’s available to download on Nintendo Switch.

But before I start the review, I wanted to go over some background history on this game.  Sorry, but I’m about to go a bit hardcore here.  Anyway, in the early 90s, the now-defunct game company Jaleco made an arcade game starring two fairies called Rod Land.  The game is very similar to Bubble Bobble, as you must run around mazes defeating cute bad guys and nabbing fruit.  It was ported to the NES and Game Boy, but not in the US, and I’ve heard the cartridges of those are really rare.  I even talked about this game when I wrote my Retro-Bit Generations articles earlier this year!  Anyway, it turns out that Soldam is a spin-off puzzler from Rod Land!  I didn’t realize it at first, but both games feature the same fairies, fruits, and enemies!  I even talked about Soldam in that same Retro-Bit Generations article and didn’t even realize it then!  But it’s a bit more apparent on the Switch.  What’s interesting is that the new company who published this version of Soldam is named City Connection, which was also the name of one of Jaleco’s other video games!

Anyway, in Soldam, four pieces of fruit in 2×2 squares fall to the bottom of a well, similar to Tetris.  The fruits are all different colors, and if you have a row of the same colored fruit lined up horizontally, it’ll disappear and you’ll get points.  If you flank fruit on either side by the same color, they’ll all turn that color, similar to Othello.  When you match a color, the entire bottom of the playfield will also change that color, making it easier to flank colors from top to bottom and diagonally.  The only problem I had was that the rules for flanking colors can be a bit confusing sometimes.  In the options menu you can turn on a guide to help you see which colors will change as the pieces are falling, and I HIGHLY recommend that you turn that on to make the game easier to understand, as it’s set to be off in the default settings.  If the fruit reaches the top of the screen, it’s Game Over.

There are several modes of play in Soldam.  In the main mode, you try to last as long as you can and get a high score as pieces fall faster and faster.  One neat thing about this mode is that you can see enemies from Rod Land on the left side of the screen, and depending on which color berries you match, the creatures will ‘evolve’ into new ones, and you can view them in an encyclopedia.  It kind of adds a bit of replay value for you to try and get them all.  The Beginner’s Section has two modes of play.  In Endless, you can concentrate on matching colors and learning the rules without having to worry about pieces falling or a time limit.  There is also a time attack mode tucked in here where you try and get as high of a score as you can in five minutes.  Challenge Mode has 50 different puzzles for you tackle where you must clear out lines with a limited number of pieces.  And finally is a two-player Vs. mode, and you can even compete in that online!

And that’s all there is to it!  Despite having some confusing rules, Soldam is still a pretty fun and addicting puzzler.  If you enjoyed colorful puzzle games from the 90’s, you’ll definitely want to check this one out!

Kid Factor:

Nothing violent or objectionable here.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text.  Soldam: Drop, Connect, Erase is rated E for Everyone.

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