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First started in late 2007, Kasey's Mobile Game Review (then just a regular feature of Kasey's Korner) started as a simul-post between here and IGN. Later I realized there's no reason to post it twice, when I can use the traffic on my own site. so, here we are, in 2010, and the mobile game industry has grown a bit. What do you think?

Mobile Game Review of "Sega Columns Deluxe"

Sega's Columns Deluxe is basically two Tetris (tm) derivatives that deals with falling stuff. Are they any good? Well, that depends how you like the genre. I personally are a bit burned out by the genre as there's a point where it's pointless to play when the pieces are falling so fast it's humanly impossible to play. Same here, IMHO.

Columns Deluxe is called "deluxe" because it actually contains two games... Columns, and Puyo Puyo. I'll describe them separately, as they even keep separate high score tables.

Columns drops a vertical slab of 3 blocks of various colors. You can rotate the "gems", but they stay vertical. To remove the stuff, you need to form chains of 4 as diagonals, horizontals or verticals. Every once in a while you get a "bonus chain" that has 3 capabilities depending on which block you allow to hit first: either erase the color it drops on, or erases rows sent over by enemy, or sends extra rows over to the enemy. There are two modes: the "endless" mode is the traditional single-player where you play until you "die" when the blocks go over the top of the playing field. There's also the "campaign" where you play against 10 different AI, the objective is to survive longer than the AI (it helps if you send more rows his way, of course).

Puyo-Puyo (also known as Puyo-Pop, or Kirby's Avalanche) is a bit more like the traditional Tetris, but only 2 pieces are dropped, of various colors. The piece can be rotated, but only puyos of same color can form chain of 4. The chain of 4 can actually bend, as long as they are consecutive (see the Wikipedia entry for details). If you manage to form the chain, you send "garbage" to the opponent. The opponent can fight back by making their own chains, so you get a bit of back-and-forth. Garbage dropped will block off existing puyos, making it hard/impossible to finish what you intended. As in Columns, there's the endless mode as well as campaign mode against 10 increasingly more difficult AI.

While the colors are good, both games are just extremely... difficult in certain cases as they are more about ruining your opponent when winning. There's a bit of this... vicious streak that made you feel good when you sent a lot of garbage to the opponent that he'll never recover from. However, neither game is as simple to pick up as Tetris. Color matching can be a problem under bright areas or wearing shades as some colors look rather close (green and blue puyos, for example). And the music is extremely repetitive and I quickly turned them off.

All in all, I found Sega Columns Deluxe to be a Tetris-clone, okay, TWO Tetris-clones. They tried to be different with the combat, but these extra rules don't really improve the game, at least in my opinion. If you like Tetris variants, give them a try, as you may be playing them again and again every once in a while. However, they don't quite have this "play one more level" feel that Tetris has, at least for me. However, they do get extra 0.5 point for value.

Rating: 7 out of 10 (includes +0.5 for value, 2 games in 1)
Pros: variations on Tetris / Dr. Mario, but more about offensive than defensive
Cons: feels... less puzzle and more action, lacks that "one more level" feel

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