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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Did you play the original Soldam? What puzzle games do you want to come to Switch? Let us know! (I want Tetris Attack!)
Brian Barnett has loved video games ever since his uncle Jimmy introduced him to them at the ripe old age of five. His wife, Audrey, was also introduced to video games by her uncle, lending credence to Brian’s theory that behind every gamer, there is a cool uncle.
Since playing Super Mario Bros. on the NES, Brian has had a passion for Nintendo games. The first thing he did when he started earning money was save up and buy himself a Game Boy, and they quickly became inseparable. Through the years, this led to his special love of portable game consoles, so the release of the Switch is the perfect storm of Nintendo action he has been waiting for.
In addition to his gaming obsession, Brian enjoys playing drums, writing and listening to music, and hosting a weekly video game and nerd culture podcast.
He is an extrovert, and loves talking about and playing games with others, so let him know if you want to team up and play together!
Plays: Switch, New 3DS, SNES, NES, GBA, PC, Xbox One, PS4, Vita