Polarium (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 31.03.2005 12

Review for Polarium on Nintendo DS

There is such a following for the classic puzzle game Tetris that it must be somewhat daunting for other companies to create possible contenders. However, since the legendary Alexey Pajitnov game was what championed Nintendo's Game Boy back in the day, it is quite fitting that the same company is the one attempting to usurp the King. But whether it actually manages to succeed is another matter...

There have been so many puzzle games lately that it is hard to choose one from the other, but they have all been of high quality

Something plagues basically every puzzle game, and that is the fact that not a lot of graphical flair is required; therefore companies do not exactly put in the effort. But then there is the all important fact that is puzzlers are too graphically intensive then a problem arises where players may actually be distracted by what is going on in the background. So it is a major dilemma, trying to cast the right balance between bland appearances and over-flashy visuals. Whether Polarium lands on the right side of the fence here, though, is a matter of opinion. In my view it works perfectly well for what it is

Sometimes it can be quite a chore trying to explain how the various different types of puzzle games in the world are played. Attempting to describe the intricacies of the simple ideas discussed earlier can be more than slightly problematical in that they are so basic that there is hardly anything to actually write about. And guess what? Polarium is just that sort of game

But the puzzle section is just as nerve-wracking, with each different layout requiring completion via one draw of the stylus. This really can hurt your head as you sit there pondering just which move will make everything disappear in a nice little sparkle. There are two options you can have on during this mode, one that shows your previous attempt on the top screen and the other giving you two hints about tiles you should definitely touch. Overall, there is not quite the same level of addiction found in the Russian legend's concept, but Mitchell sure has managed to concoct a fine specimen of a puzzle title, one that stands proud amongst the other Nintendo DS launch games.

In terms of how long it is there is first of all the fact that there are various options to play around with, then there is the difficulty level, as well as the chance to play against a friend in one of the most addictive forms for a long time. So booting up the game gives you a flat out main mode where you are flipping tiles as fast as possible, with more lines appearing on the top of the screen at a rapid rate. Then there is the same thing, but without the fear of getting a Game Over (in other words a Practice mode), a Challenge mode where you have to try and solve set puzzles in just one move (of which there are a hundred to complete, starting with twenty and building up in tens) and the possibility to create your own puzzles or input codes to play on those created by others (such as your friends or Nintendo itself, with a hundred places to store custom puzzles, starting with twenty again and obtaining more space as you work through the set ones). You can even send created puzzles via the wireless link, transmit a demo of the game to a friend or, if two copies are owned, partake in a battle mode where part of your screen shows your action and the other the opponent, with it all working in a traditional Tetris-like manner. It is an endless game, especially due to the solo modes being so hard, without any chance of changing the difficulty settings, but you will relish the challenge.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

It is hard to find a real fault with this title. Polarium is by far one of the best Nintendo DS launch games and stands side-by-side with the likes of It's Mr Pants in terms of overall excellence. Simple, easy to pick-up-and-play, difficult to put back down. This is how all puzzlers should be...and since it is cheaper than most DS games, how can you resist?









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (5 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Polarium ownz imo.
nuff said :p

Incidently, the Japanise version I have isnt as good as the UK version :(
Mine dosnt support single-card multiplay.

But the English version certainly does.
US version too, I assume

[ Edited by Darkflame On 2005/4/1 0:03 ]

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Excellent Review.
I for one picked up this gem on lauch and haven't really put it down.

Once in a lifetime.

It's amazing, yet seems to be currently overlooked by many in the UK at least...Sales were more than respectable in Japan, though, and will hopefully be high when launched in the US this month...


Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Very ture, I think many over look it because of the graphical style, I really like the simplicity of it.
Hopefully Nintendo will put up plenty of demo booths over here so gamers can experience how great the game is.

[ Edited by Zelos On 2005/4/1 0:37 ]

Once in a lifetime.

Nice review. I'm getting this in a few weeks, so it's great that it got a good score. I'm still not sure I understand it entirely, but I think it's going to be one of those games where as soon as you get it, you figure it out pretty quickly.

looks kool, but i still dunno if i'll get it......

Mason: Form one or more horizontal line by flipping tiles over to become the same colour, i.e:

w = white
b = black

w w w w w b w w

Double tap on the black tile to flip it over and the line disappears. Alternatively, drag your stylus over from the far left white tile to the fifth white one, then drag down one to the outer perimeter and right two (so you're by-passing that black one), drag up one to the second-from-the-left white tile and finally drag the line to the last white, double tap and bingo, they've all done, just in a different colour!

Any clearer? Hope so! :Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

I know I'll be picking this title up when I get a DS (It's gonna be in June!), unless there's a better puzzle game out by then.

This game is only

Thank God this is one of the cheaper games. Another game we get before the US, nice. :-D

Yeah its a great buy at only

XBL Gamertag: James2t3


All true! Ive had my DS since american release and only had Metroid Hunters demo, Mario 64 and Ashault Urban GT to get on with. But i completed Mario 64 quite quickly and got high scores on the demo so when Polarium came out it was a dream come true.
Other than Mario 64 this is the only game worth having on the DS out of the release titles.

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