Review – Soldam: Drop, Connect, Erase Brings A 90’s Arcade Game To The Modern Era

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Soldam: Drop, Connect, Erase is a modern take on the Jaleco arcade game Soldam. Although I never played the original game, Soldam: Drop, Connect, Erase (made by developer City Connection and published by Dispatch Games) reminded me of other classic puzzle games like Tetris Attack and the much more recent Puyo Puyo Tetris. The more I played, however, the more I found Soldam to be unique. While it is true that it has the same central “rotate the dropping block to clear lines” mechanic as games like Tetris and Puyo Puyo, Soldam has a distinct flavor all it’s own that makes it a worthy addition to any puzzler’s library.

In Soldam: Drop, Connect, Erase (from this point forward referred to as Soldam), players rotate and position dropping squares consisting of four colored fruits. The goal is to clear as many lines as possible by forming horizontal lines of a single color.

Always keep the color of the bottom line in mind!

This can be accomplished by simply dropping similarly colored fruit next to each other. Another way to clear lines is by changing the color of fruit on the playing field by a technique called “flanking.” By placing the same color of fruit on both sides of a differently colored block, it’s color can be changed to that of the flanking blocks. This trick works horizontally, vertically, and even diagonally!

The “How To Play” section is a good place to start.

After the player clears their first line, it drops to the bottom of the screen and becomes the Clear Soldam line. This line is one solid color, but it will not disappear like other lines, and so it can be used to flank from below. This can be extremely useful, especially as the fruit stacks up, so always keep an eye on the Clear Soldam line!

If this sounds overly complicated, let me give an example: In the picture below, I dropped a block with blue fruit on the bottom, and because the Clear Soldam line was blue, there were three yellow fruit in between them that were turned blue. After that, all I needed to do was drop two blue fruit on the right side (to flank the yellow and green fruit) and I could clear the line!

Any contiguous colored blocks you flank will be changed. This is the central mechanic of Soldam!

Like any good puzzle game, there are several modes in Soldam. The classic Endless mode starts players off with two colors of fruit. As players clear lines, the speed slowly increases. After clearing enough lines to reach Level 10, the game slows down the pace significantly and adds an additional color. From there on out, players have to deal with juggling three colors, and the speed starts to ramp up again. Things can get even trickier when the Clear Soldam line changes color. If the player has been turning the entire field blue and the Clear Soldam line turns yellow, it becomes necessary to quickly change tactics to avoid a GAME OVER.

If any piece of fruit breaks through the colored line at the top of the screen, it’s GAME OVER!

In Challenge mode, players are given a limited number of Soldam blocks to solve specific puzzles. This can be simply clearing a small number of lines with the blocks assigned, or lining up blocks to create combos that clear all lines at once. These stages require increasingly complex flanking techniques, but if the player can figure a way through, they can teach the player tricks that come in handy when tackling the main game, or even multiplayer.

The challenge stages can quickly become difficult, but they can also teach the player advanced techniques that come in handy when taking on higher levels of Endless or Multiplayer.

Speaking of multiplayer, Soldam features split-screen modes (as well as online Versus) and pits players against each other to see who can survive the longest. Player one has a field surrounded on all sides by red fruit, and player two has a field surrounded by blue fruit. Whoever places their block first gets the next one, each player has to change lines to their own respective flanking colors to clear them. Any time a player clears two or more lines at once, some of those blocks are added to the bottom of their opponent’s field. Combined with the smaller playing field, this can cause things to get hectic fast!

Multiplayer mixes up the challenge in split-screen and online modes!

FINAL VERDICT:

Although I never played the original arcade game, Soldam: Drop, Connect, Erase joins Puyo Puyo Tetris as a solid puzzler for the gamer on-the-go. With several game modes including classic Endless Soldam, Easy Mode, and Challenge stages, there is something for first-timers and veterans alike. If you like puzzle games, and want one with a unique twist, Soldam: Drop, Connect, Erase is a great choice.

If Soldam: Drop, Connect, Erase sounds like your kind of game, $29 will get you a physical copy on Amazon or a digital copy here!

Did you play the original Soldam? What puzzle games do you want to come to Switch? Let us know! (I want Tetris Attack!)

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3 thoughts on “Review – Soldam: Drop, Connect, Erase Brings A 90’s Arcade Game To The Modern Era

  1. Great review, I was thinking of picking this up due to the similarity to Puyo. A puzzle game that I want on the Switch would most definitely be Tetris Attack. Every time I hear Yoshi say Nintendo I get so excited to dive in.

    1. I feel exactly the same way. Even if it was just a Virtual Console release of the unchanged game, Tetris Attack would be a fantastic addition. It also happens to be my favorite puzzle game of all time.

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