Polarium (DS) review
" Scanning the local Gamestop, my eyes lazily rested on an interesting prospect. Everyone knows that puzzlers hold lofty standards on handheld gaming machines; every good portable needs an excellent pick-up-and-play title. Thus I briskly passed on the highly touted Meteos and took a somewhat risky stab at Polarium. Based on the fact that Iíve been playing it feverishly for the past three weeks, Iíll go out on a limb and say I got my moneyís worth. "
Scanning the local Gamestop, my eyes lazily rested on an interesting prospect. Everyone knows that puzzlers hold lofty standards on handheld gaming machines; every good portable needs an excellent pick-up-and-play title. Thus I briskly passed on the highly touted Meteos and took a somewhat risky stab at Polarium. Based on the fact that Iíve been playing it feverishly for the past three weeks, Iíll go out on a limb and say I got my moneyís worth.
The premise in Polarium is so rudimentary and mundane, yet will twist every bit of juice out of that flourishing brain of yours. Utilizing the touch screen for every facet of the game, all you have to do is browse the palette of black and white blocks given to you, and with the flick of the stylus, turn that previously black tile into a white one. Sounds simple, right? Black and white; it canít be that hard. But when youíre tasked to turn the tiles into rows of just one color, the challenge significantly increases. Tack on the incessant dropping of more tiles on your ever-growing pile, and the pace, feel, and tension rises substantially.
The game is actually very scant in the amount of modes available. Thereís simply a challenge mode (which is the aforementioned scenario) versus mode (which allows you to link wirelessly with friends and challenge them), and the highly addictive, and extremely rewarding puzzle mode. Puzzle mode gives you a screen of blocks, and all with one stroke of the stylus, you must eradicate them. This is the true bulk of the game, since there are 100 stock puzzles, and you unlock each of them after you beat the previous one. After exhausting your supply of brainpower to complete all of them, youíll feel a resounding sense of pride.
But the true essence of pride is not fully realized until an online friend sends you one of their custom made puzzles through a nicely implemented password system; conquer their puzzle, stump them with your own, and youíve finally understood how truly gratifying Polarium is. The incorporation of the custom puzzle option presents vast amounts of different puzzles to perplex your brain with. This stroke of utter brilliance propels Polarium into an addiction that wonít go away. Donít fret about the boring, elevator-esque music, lifeless visuals or your lack of a social life after discovering this game; theyíre all superfluous afterthoughts in the grand scheme of gaming. And, sure, there are some minor technical hiccups, like the unresponsive stylus disease, but youíll soon learn how to overcome it with a healthy dose of time put into the game.
I canít recommend a game in the DSí library more than this one. Superficial features give no justice to the simple, yet intricate glory that is Polarium. Grab your stylus, lock your door, and search your brain for something you never knew was there; thatís the essence of Polarium.
Community review by Linkamoto (August 07, 2005)
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