Monday, August 6

Review: SubaraCity [Nintendo Switch eShop]

It’s always satisfying to load up a new indie game you know nothing about and then end up pleasantly surprised by them. This is very much the case for the deceptively challenging SubaraCity, which feels similar to games you’ve played before and seems pretty easy initially. However, once you’ve played a few games you’ll begin to see opportunities you had been missing and new techniques that will give you higher scores and deeper play. While it never moves past its relatively simple rules and options, it’s still great to play when relaxing but looking to flex your mental muscles a little as you go as well.

The rules are actually pretty simple. Depending on whether you play Casual or Standard mode you’ll have pieces that can be either one of 3 or 4 colors. Pieces of the same color that are above or to the sides of each can be combined, which will slowly allow you to create ever-larger buildings on spaces and will also allow new pieces to drop. Getting a space up to Level 10 will change its tile color to white and from that point on it can only be combined with other Level 10 pieces. Once you combine them to make even larger buildings those pieces will essentially be locked in from that point, unable to be moved or combined further. Once you’re unable to combine any spaces on the board your game will end.

What makes all the difference in your success is how you plan things out and then manage to execute wisely along the way to maximize your opportunities. The most crucial thing to learn is that at all times which space you combine your pieces into is absolutely vital. Spaces that are touching each other can, at times, weave through the board in a snake-like fashion. Any one of these spaces can be the one you compress the others into and in order to set up other moves properly making the most of such a decision is essential. Clever planning mixed with some luck can absolutely bail you out of situations you may have thought were lost causes but just a few careless moves can also absolutely sink you.

SubaraCity is definitely a case where its looks can be deceiving. In this case simplicity in appearance and rules hides gameplay that turns out to be challenging and even, at times, exciting when you’re able to dig yourself out of trouble. If you’ve been looking for a puzzle title that you can enjoy on the go and that tests your ability to anticipate and plan its budget price makes this title a great choice.

Score: 7.5

  • The clean and clear look makes it ideal to play on the go in handheld mode
  • While its rules are simple in principle the challenge gets to be very real
  • An extremely budget-friendly price

  • There’s nothing of substance to unlock, just some minor aesthetics that tie to achievements
  • It may be too simple for some tastes