Grid Mania is a puzzle game built around trial and error. Playing like a 2D Rubik’s Cube, the goal is to move different colored balls on an Excel spreadsheet to their corresponding colored cell. Moving balls from the right side of the screen will make them appear on the left side and the same goes for moving columns. The point is, you can’t just move one ball; the player must move an entire row or column. It is also pretty humorous that the first step in the opening tutorial is to touch the blue balls.
The puzzles in Grid Mania have one solution (although a puzzle could have several ways of reaching that solution). In comparison, look at a puzzle game like Tetris, Dr. Mario, or any Puyo game. Those puzzle games are different every time and built around endurance with multiplayer features. Here, with Grid Mania, it is closer in comparison to something like Sudoku as the player simply must find the one answer to the specific puzzle. This being said, Grid Mania is a much more difficult game and could cause frustration.
There are a total of four different modes with well over 150 puzzles to complete. Casual Puzzle is the easiest going mode, the main mode, as the player just needs to complete the puzzle regardless the number of moves it takes. Quick Challenge is the Casual mode only with a finite number of moves. Grid Madness requires the entire grid to be filled accordingly. The goal of Chain Reaction mode is to link balls of the same color together while still moving them to the corresponding location. Each mode is just a slightly different spin over the last but still offers enough variety for players to declare a favorite. Also, for the most dedicated players, randomly generated levels are also available.
The simple presentation justifies the low $3.99 price point. With little more than primary colors on a black grid, there is not much to see. The soundtrack is also chill but unvaried and does not loop smoothly. But with such a low price point, these can’t be viewed as a complaint as they get the job done.
If you like to tease your brain with puzzles like Sudoku, then Grid Mania is a single player experience that can be enjoyed in short bursts. The Switch is a good home for this puzzle game as players might only want to solve a couple puzzles on their lunch break or waiting for a train. Otherwise real time puzzle fans will want to hold off for a Switch version of Tetris.
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