Everything fits with this puzzler.
Sega has released a number of puzzle games throughout the years, with Columns being one of their earlier titles. The second game in that series was released in 1990 exclusively for the arcade, and now it’s been released here on the Nintendo Switch as part of the Sega Ages line. It’s a perfectly serviceable puzzle game with a few enhancements to make it the best Columns II experience yet.
This puzzler is pretty straightforward. The goal is to match 3 or more jewels to their corresponding colors either diagonally, vertically or horizontally. Like any good puzzle game, it’s easy to figure out the basics and play, but hard to actually master and advance.
There are two modes to the core game. Flash Columns has you attempting to clear a blinking tile on the screen, while Vs. Columns is more akin to the original Columns, where you just focus on clearing tiles. The Sega Ages release gives you stage select options, as well as the ability to remove skulls, which can ruin your game if you try to remove them from the board. There’s nothing fancy about any of this, but the gameplay is rock solid and fun.
This new release has included a few more bells and whistles to sweeten the overall experience. There is an Infinite Jewels mode that allows you to clear as many tiles as you want. There’s also online play and leaderboards that help further the game’s replay value. Avatars can also be collected as you advance through Column II featuring obscure characters from Sega's past. It's a neat thing to work for if you want to up replay value.
There’s not much to talk about in terms of presentation. Column II’s graphics and sound are perfectly decent for its time. Sometimes the music can be grating, especially if a level takes a while to clear, but it does change pretty regularly. The tiles change patterns throughout each level; they could be anything from Column’s original jewels to disks or even fossils, living up to The Voyage Through Time subtitle.
If it seems like I don’t have much to say about Columns II: The Voyage Through Time. That’s because, well, I really don't. This is a perfectly average, competent, fun puzzle game that was very fun to play for a few hours and nothing more beyond that. It doesn’t revolutionize the puzzle genre in any way, but it was a good experience while it lasted. And like with any Sega Ages title, the added content makes this the best version of the game yet.