Columns Crown is best described as a partial evolution to the classic Genesis
puzzler released back in 1989. While the core design is the same, the gameplay
has been tweaked and fitted with a story on the collection of jewels lost from a
crown. It's too bad that WOW Entertainment decided to stray from the classic design
of Columns rather than slaps some characters on the license, because it could have
been a must have game.
Columns Crown, is after all, a puzzle game, so you really shouldn't expect some
depth. Puzzle games should be a nice pick up and play game that can be played anytime
anywhere and not bother with stories. The original Columns is a good example of this,
where you didn't fool around with a story, you went right to the game. Tetris and
Dr. Mario are also good examples of this. But Colums Crown kind of overcomplicates
the idea of a simple puzzler. First of all, the idea of an "arcade mode" is most
logical in a game like this. CC does have it, in a way, but the scoring is all
wrong. You're ranked instead of given points, which to me, seems cheap. Then there's
the Vs. mode, which is a little tough for it's own good. The only mode really worth
playing in this game is the Flash Columns mode, and even that grows stale. In that
mode, you need to eliminate a flashing jewel to clear the stage. In later stages,
it becomes so much more complicated, since the jewels are piled so high from the
start. In the end, CC is just too complicated and difficult to even enjoy on short
burst, which is the purpose of puzzle games (in general).
The graphics are okay for a puzzle game. The art design is adequate and things
look fine, except for the use of color. Whoever thought of making orange and
red nearly the same color was a moron. This is not a TV screem, it's a GBA screen,
and you need to be careful on what colors are visible in lower light and what isn't.
But even in good light, the colors can be hard to distinguish.
The sound is fairly adequate, with sound effects that sound much like the original
Columns from the Genesis. But then there's the music. For some reason, the music
makes me feel drowsy. It just has a melody that makes you tired. Go ahead and turn
the sound down, you won't miss much.
If this review seems a tad bit short, it's because Columns Crown wasn't a terribly
memorable game. The original Columns was so much more fun to play than the newer
GBA rendition. The core design was there, but the way it was presented just made
the game dull. A puzzle game is only as good as it's addiction factor, and Columns
Crown just doesn't have it.