Day and Night (Switch)

Day and Night is a Tetris-like puzzler exclusively on Nintendo Switch.  I was really surprised how good this game was.  It’s very polished and feels like a complete game, unlike a lot of the other indie titles I’ve played.  It’s also pretty original, too.  Most of these puzzlers play exactly like another game, such as Crystal Crisis pretty much copying Puzzle Fighter.  But Day and Night is kind of its own thing.  If you like playing Switch puzzlers like Tetris 99, you’ll definitely want to read this review!

Anyway, Day and Night is a falling block puzzle game.  It’s best as a two-player competitive game, but there are single player modes as well.  Blocks of four fall into a well and you can move and rotate them on the way down.  When you match up four or more, they disappear.  There are four main kinds of blocks: two day blocks and two night blocks.  When it is daytime in the background, you can only match up the day blocks and the night ones are grayed out.  But as you match up these blocks, a meter fills up and when it’s full, day changes to night and you can only match up the night blocks.  And that’s really the basics of the gameplay, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

In a two player game, whoever can make the day/night meter fill up first will not only change if it’s day or night, they’ll also add a row of unremovable blocks to the bottom of their opponent’s playfield.  There are also special attack blocks that will do something harmful to your opponent’s blocks if you match up four of them, and these blocks are based on the four seasons and change after every day/night cycle.  Not only that, but there are blocks that’ll affect you depending on if you soft drop or hard drop them.  Press up to make blocks fall immediately, that’s a hard drop. Press down to make them drop quickly, and that’s a soft drop.  If you soft drop these blocks they won’t do anything, but if you hard drop them, they’ll activate.  Some help you out, like stone blocks that will clear a vertical line, while others are harmful, like ice blocks that’ll freeze a row high up and shorten your playfield for a while.  All this is a lot to keep track of, but the game does a mostly good job of easing you into things with the tutorial.  Although there is a dial on the bottom of the screen that I’m still not completely clear what it does.

The game has a school play setting to it, and the backgrounds and menus change like stage props.  The characters you choose are children of varying genders of ethnicities acting parts in the play.  By completing certain objectives, you can win hats for the kids to wear, too.  If you don’t mind playing something a little ‘kiddy,’ it’s very charming.  There are several modes of play.  Rehearsal is the tutorial mode.  Versus lets you play against a friend or the CPU.  Survival is a single player mode where you try and last as long as you can.  Story mode has different plays with acts for you to complete, each one ending with you winning a hat.  And Dares lets you try special challenges to win more hats, like playing upside down or super fast!

There are only two small problems I had with the game.  One is that it lacks the simplistic charm of a puzzle game like Tetris, as there are a lot of things going on and that you must keep track of.  It doesn’t make the game bad, but the learning curve is a bit steeper and it’s not a game you can just jump into.  Newcomers should definitely do the Rehearsal mode first.  The other problem is a little harder to pinpoint, but it just seems the difficulty is a bit unbalanced.  No matter what difficulty mode I selected, sometimes I could beat the CPU opponent very quickly, while other times it would take forever.  But otherwise, I was very surprised on how GOOD this game actually was.  Definitely a keeper in my Switch library.

Kid Factor:

Nothing violent or objectionable here.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and younger gamers may find it harder to keep track of everything and get frustrated at the difficulty.  Day and Night is rated E for Everyone.

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