Kolumno Concept Art

Available now for Nintendo Switch (£1.79)

A beautifully minimalist, vertically minded puzzler, Kolumno is a game which sees you simply attempting to drop a ball into a hole to pass each stage.

However, standing in your way are moving obstacles that spin around the column your ball needs to descend; time the drop right and your ball will escape to the next stage – time it even a fraction of a second wrong and the ball will bounce off the rotating blocks and you’ll have to start again.

Get it right and it’ll take you a second or two to clear the stage – but with even the earliest stages requiring very precise timing, you may well be seeing the same obstacle for minutes at a time before being able to proceed.

Kolumno Screenshot

After getting the hang of the simple, accessible mechanics over a decent number of levels, new power ups are introduced, one at a time, to gently layer on a bit more complexity – though until the final stages it never becomes truly overwhelming. These new abilities allow you to hold the ball in place for a second or so (just long enough to allow an obstacle to pass), shrink the ball, add a boost to the ball’s descent and dig through obstacles. Each ability, as with the initial dropping of the ball, requires one specific button press to activate: the key, as with the basic levels, lies in the timing of triggering the abilities in question.

Though some levels can be more frustrating than others, it’s a clever, simple premise that manages to remain engaging by introducing the extra mechanics at just the right time. It’s very reasonably priced and – with 75 levels included – is likely to give you quite a bit of play value. Kolumno is a nicely original puzzler with some neat ideas that has excellent, pleasingly minimal audiovisual design.

The publisher provided me with a copy of Kolumno for review purposes.

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