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Sunday, 12 May 2013

Spinpair Review

You would have thought that they would have exhausted the entire match 3 puzzle game by now.  Made popular by Columns and triggering off a million offshoots / PD remakes it took untill Bejewelled appeared later on that this aspect of the genre would take a back seat.

Spinpair is a PC engine game from Media Rings corporation.  It has a neat twist on the genre in that you get to drop pieces on the playfield and can only remove them by filling in their other halves directly on top of them.  Any other unmatched pieces of the same type are removed when this happens and is genuinely useful, clearing a space for other pieces.  Game over is when your pieces reach the top of the screen as in every Columns clone.

You can only rotate the blocks left or right, you cannot switch them vertically (which would be helpful) and the other button cycles through all the available halves so you can match more easily.  Down drops the pieces onto the play field.  Also if you match one side (say on a taller column) you can control the other block until it lands.


There are a few modes here including:

Normal Mode.  You get to choose where you start and what handicap you have (amount of blocks not disability you sick fucks).  General one player mode.

Story Mode.  A weird one as there is no story.  I was expecting a nonsense plot in Japanese but there none, all you do is travel the world and match up pairs, you'll get more and more different blocks to match the further you go.

Battle Mode.

Battle mode. Haven't played as of yet.
Ninja Edit.  Battle mode requires two players to work even under emulation.  It also has the games only Japanese text only bits I can translate.  Link mode also has Japanese text and will link two PC Engine GTs together to play this.

Graphics.  Functional and cute. The shapes you fill in in the Story mode are all cute animals, birds sealife and vegetables, you get slightly less cute architecture for normal mode.

Music. Not too bad actually, reminds me of Dr Mario in that you get a choice of tunes and  the obligatory warning theme when your stack gets too high.

Playability. This is where it shines, its a great concept and no one seems to have copied it (this would work well on handhelds / mobile platforms)  the lack of switching your tiles vertically as they drop is the only thing  holding it back, apart from that its a great little game with no language barrier.  If you are looking for a quirky little puzzler and have a PC Engine this is worth recommending.


Post script. I get the nagging feeling that this could either be done on the NES for some unknown reason or make an excelllent arcade game. I guess Media Rings weren't big enough for this to happen.

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