Saturday, March 3

Review: Grid Mania [Nintendo Switch eShop]


With the option to play either in handheld mode with the touchscreen or in docked mode with the controller versatility is a big part of the Switch’s success. The puzzle genre, specifically, has benefited greatly from this since while they can work adequately with traditional controls they’re simply more intuitive with touch. This is very much the case with Grid Wars, a generally traditional puzzler with a strong and well-executed hook that it challenges you with through 4 distinctive modes.


The basics of the game are that you have colored balls on your screen in a grid. In order to move up or to the sides everything in a given row or column will move together. For versatility you’re also able to wrap a ball around to the other side of the grid by going all the way to either side. Add in a few more wrinkles like blocks that will prevent anything from moving part them and you have the basis for what turns out to be quite a lot of variety that Grid Mania does an excellent job of squeezing out.


Starting with Casual mode your goal is simply to move the proper colored balls onto their respective squares, with no time or move limits. This is a great mode for familiarizing yourself with how the game works and how to both contend with and exploit the game rules to be successful. Quick Challenge ups the ante and works as a puzzle mode, giving you a board and only a limited number of moves to get everything into position. In Grid Madness you’ll need to get 3 (or more) balls of the same color together in order to have them essentially color in the grid squares they’re on. The goal here is to color every square on the board in the fastest time and fewest moves. Finally, Chain Reaction mode again will force you to get all of the balls of the same color together to make them disappear but this time in order to trigger them one ball must be on a square for that color.


In some regards you could believe that any lesser combination of these modes could have been a stand-alone game so kudos to the developer for taking their idea and running with it to the fullest. While the style of play isn’t revolutionary each mode has enough variety that switching between them regularly kept everything feeling pretty fresh and challenging. With its presentation being clean and polished, a well-implemented hook, and a diverse set of challenges spanning a load of puzzles if you’re looking for something to test your mind it’s a solid option.

Score: 7

Pros:
  • A clean presentation with fitting music
  • The core mechanics are sound and work across all modes
  • Each mode feels distinct and has its own challenges

Cons:
  • Either you’ll take or leave the puzzle style
  • Not a revolutionary idea, but well-implemented