#117 Solomon’s Key

Posted: 12th July 2019 by Jeroen in Games
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798th played so far

Genre: Puzzle
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1986
Developer: Tecmo
Publisher: Tecmo

We have been getting two things out of our Switch Online subscription. One is that we’ve gained quite an addiction to Tetris-99, at which Peter has become a master, and the other is that we’ve gotten access to the NES classics collection. Most of the games on there are classics we’ve already covered or that aren’t on the list, but one small title stood out to me. Most people probably didn’t think much of Solomon’s Key, but it’s one of the older remaining games on the list and I guess I just got a great way to play it.

Our Thoughts

I had some fun with Solomon’s Key, though as an old puzzle game like this it gets hard quite early and I started using walkthroughs at about the third level. The Switch release doesn’t come with a manual that I’ve spotted, so things like being able to remove walls and how magic works was stuff I had to work out on the fly. It worked quite well when I got into that, with a simple fighting mechanic while the basic mechanism, creating and removing dirt blocks to change the level, works well to create individual challenges that require exploiting a lot of the game’s mechanics.

What probably helps is that, as this isn’t an arcade release, the game feels like it’s on your side. It might limit resources like attacks, but the block building and removing is unlimited so it removes an optimization challenge. The challenge becomes trapping enemies without using magic to kill them as much as you can, and that works well enough to turn it into a puzzle.

The puzzles have variations in their solutions, without forcing a specific set of actions, which makes it more flexible in playing – another nice extra to have, that shows how it isn’t a straight up puzzle game – it’s a good mix of all genres.

Final Thoughts

To be honest, considering the age of teh game and the general look, I wasn’t expecting much from Solomon’s Key. While it isn’t amazing, the puzzles hold up remarkably well and the game is suprisingly fun to play – challenging but not too much so.