SOLOMON'S KEY is a game I had heard about for so long, but never had a chance to play it. I was actually surprised to find out it’s a puzzle game. We haven’t had one of those since Wrecking Crew back in the ‘85 LaunchI was even more surprised to find out it’s considered a very hard NES game. It’s not broken hard, it’s actually mentally challenging. There is no definite solution to each level and that actually makes it harder for the player. I love the choices the player has in this game. You can be aggressive, you can be speedy, you can be defensive and no matter what you’re likely to change play style depending on the difficulty of the level.
The problem with Solomon’s Key? Well there are quite a few, for one the game is so challenging that you’ll be stuck playing through the first few levels a lot before getting to the screen that causes your game over. The second, time limit. Puzzle games can have time limits, unfortunately Solomon’s Key has a timer that barely provides enough time in the level to do anything but go straight for the solution. Experimentation might result in a game over. And lastly, I wasn’t too fond of how it felt to control. Things felt slightly behind my presses and jumping in general was more difficult than it needed to be.
Solomon’s Key is fun and definitely challenging. I think if you’ve heard about it you SHOULD play it. But you might wind up more frustrated than anything.
I was really looking forward to Solomon’s Key, to be honest I’m not really sure why. Something about it was just intriguing to me. Once I jumped into it I had mixed feelings. On the positive side, everything in a level of this game has it’s own pattern and set of rules, I love the multitude of ways you can manipulate these elements to solve varying puzzles using mainly two basic abilities: creating and destroying blocks. It can be interesting and satisfying to realize how these actions affect each individual element as well as the big picture. On the negative side, it feels like the game couldn’t quite commit to just being puzzle game. These puzzles feel like something I wanted to really sit back and think about, unfortunately there were a few too many distractions. The time limit to each stage coupled with the enemies on screen prevented me from really focusing on and appreciating the puzzle design. It felt like it discouraged me from finding the optimal way to solve the puzzle in favor of taking the safest route. Overall I still really enjoyed this game but would love to see a sequel that keeps what works and omits what doesn’t.