Black and White
The mechanics behind Polarium is, like that of many other puzzle games, as difficult to explain as it is easy to assimilate once in contact with the game. Each time you start a game you will find yourself in front of a table, of varying size, sprinkled with black and white squares. Your task will be to eliminate all the boxes on the screen, creating horizontal files that are all made up of tiles of the same color: you can give each tile the same shade, but white rows alternating with other blacks will also work fine, the important thing is that all the boxes that make up a specific horizontal line are the same. To do this you will have to draw an imaginary line which, once activated, will invert the color of all the boxes over which you have passed it. The difficulty of completing the various paintings lies in the fact that you will have only one line available to ensure that the tiles get the right color, a single, long trajectory that must not invade those boxes that are already of the desired shade. After a few simple test stages, things will immediately begin to get more complex, up to very high difficulty levels. To complicate things for you, there will also be particular types of boxes over which you will not be able to pass your trajectory, or others that have the function of supporting the entire stage and which, once eliminated, will cause all those above to collapse, which they will form new lines. The classic motto "easy to play, hard to master" fits perfectly to Polarium, which is a puzzle game with a simple structure but with great depth and truly brilliant and exciting puzzles, which manage to stimulate the logic of the player like few others. others.
DS versus GBA
As said initially, Polarium was designed in relation to the functionality of the DS, to the potential of the Touch Screen. How was it possible to transfer it to GBA without making the game more cumbersome? Simply by eliminating those game modes that required the stylus to be fully appreciated. In the DS version of Polarium there was a classic type of game, a la Tetris, which on GBA has disappeared. In this mode, new boxes were constantly arriving in the game table, and our task was to eliminate as many lines as possible, always with the usual procedure, but without the restriction of a single trajectory. You could then invert the colors of the tiles to your liking, without any limit, which would be impossible to do quickly without the Touch Screen. If with the stylus it was enough to touch a box to make it change tonality, with the GBA you have to move the cursor over it, obviously a more cumbersome and slow process that would have compromised a mode that makes speed one of its basic components. Fortunately, the beauty of Polarium has not been lost, because the real Polarium resides elsewhere. Even in the cartridge for DS, in fact, the true merits of the game came to the surface with the mode also present on GBA, the one that requires reflection and application of logic, not instinct. The developers therefore decided to upgrade it to the maximum, tripling the frameworks of the DS version, which have now become 365, one a day for a year. There is also an editor that allows you to manually create your own stages and a mode in which you will have to pass a certain number of levels within a limited amount of time. The multiplayer of the DS version obviously disappeared, because it was based on the classic type of game, a la Tetris. The GBA version is therefore better as regards the main mode of Polarium, but does not present the more traditional one which, although inferior, was still useful to prolong the experience of the game as it proposed randomly generated puzzles. Saying which version is the best is therefore a difficult task, but surely the potential of Polarium and its unique concept come out more on GBA, despite the longevity being lower than the counterpart for DS. Neither the price, reduced for both versions (about 30 euros), nor the audiovisual sector, minimalist on both GBA and DS, help to deal with the issue.
Polarium boasts a very particular game mechanics, different from that of other puzzle games. If in other titles of the genre tension and speed are fundamental components of the gaming experience, in Polarium instead the logic and reflection emerge, necessary to complete the many puzzles (365). To its disadvantage it must be said that once the many pictures have been completed it does not offer much to the player anymore, since there is no 'random' mode to Tetris, present instead in Polarium DS. Between the two versions, although it is difficult to decide which is the best, we recommend this GBA, because it succeeds better than the other in highlighting the many qualities of Polarium, it represents a purer experience, while that for DS is a way of between the main features of Polarium and the classic ones of puzzle games.
- Smart like few other titles of the genre
- It costs 30 euros
- 365 paintings of pure genius ...
- ... but they end soon
- Extremely minimalist audiovisual sector
- There is neither multiplayer nor a random mode
Polarium, a puzzle game created by Mitchell in collaboration with Nintendo, was one of the Nintendo DS launch titles. Like many of the games that accompany the arrival on the shelves of the respective consoles, Polarium had the purpose of showing everyone, in a simple and intuitive way, the potential of the Nintendo DS and its Touch Screen. The game, as well as some of its modes, was designed around the peculiar characteristics of the Nintendo laptop: therefore, the announcement of a version for the Game Boy Advance was not a little surprised.