Polarium (first announced as One-Line Puzzle) is a puzzle game on the Nintendo DS developed by Mitchell Corporation. The objective of the game is to clear the screen by setting either all the tiles black or white with one stroke using the Touch Screen.
There are four modes in Polarium:
- Challenge Similar to Tetris and Meteos, hoizontal rows tiles continuously fall from above to fill the screen.
- Puzzle Players must figure out how to clear complex puzzles in one continuous stroke.
- Versus A multiplayer mode that allows players to compete against friends.
- Lounge This contains beginner tutorials, game preferences, demo upload, and a puzzle exchange connection. You can also view the credits once they have been unlocked by completing Challenge mode, or by clearing all 100 Puzzles.
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Polarium's gameplay relies heavily on the availabity of drawing lines, as the player's objective is to clear lines/puzzles by reversing the polarity of each block in a row to the same colour. However, each block can only be drawn on once, as lines cannot interset each other. The play field consist of an active field where the main blocks are; and a border, where grey blocks resides. The border allows the player to jump to different areas of the puzzle without drawing over other blocks.
Players clear rows as they fall from the top of the screen. After a row is successfully cleared, the player is given three seconds to clear another line in the puzzle to entend the combo meter, which is a score multiplier for the number of lines cleared. In addition, if the player manages to clear the entire playing field before the next set of block arrives, a Clear Screen counter is added, which also increases the player score.
There are 10 levels, each consisting of 100 lines. The game is over when the player successfully clears all ten levels (1,000 lines), or the blocks of tiles reach the top of the top-screen. The lines that fall from the top in each level have characteristics distinct to that level. For instance, Level 1 consists mostly of 3 line groups that can be cleared with one stroke. Many of the patterns can also be found in the Puzzle mode.
Win or lose, if a player scores enough points, they are given a chance to draw a picture for their entry in the high score list. You can view the icons, score, number of lines cleared for the top three scores from the Challenge screen. Scores are also given grades, i.e. 196,680 points is a D-.
Players can choose any of the levels that they've reached in Challenge mode, and play through the level with no time limit. Just like challenge mode, the tiles fall from the top of the screen, however tiles will simply stop falling if they back up to the top of the screen. This gives the player a chance to become familiar with the particular patterns of the selected level.
The player has unlimited time to finish one of the 100 puzzles or any of the custom puzzles in the game. Unlike the challenge mode, the player must be able to clear the entire screen with one stroke. Since the game does not specify which colour is the correct answer, there may be multiple solutions for the same puzzle. If the player is stuck for a long time, a hint option can be activated, showing the player the start point and end point that can solve the puzzle. Players can also create up to 50 of their own custom puzzles. Custom puzzles must be solvable, and a solution must be drawn in order to save the puzzle. Custom puzzles can be sent to friends via wireless link or a 30 digit code system.
Players battle to clear puzzles, similar to challenge mode. Player 1 sets the options and starts the game. (Note: As with most multiplayer DS games, closing the DS will disconnect both players.)
- Games Set the number of games to play, choices are 5, 10, and 20 games. Score is kept by smiley faces that are displayed between rounds. There are no ties.
- Time Set the duration of each match to 45 or 90 seconds, or untimed. In the event of a timeout, the game awards altertaning players the win, starting with Player 2.
Both screens start with a few lines, and the goal is to clear your screen before your opponent does the same. However, unlike challenge mode, lines do not appear from the top of the screen. As lines are cleared from your screen, they'll appear on the competitor's screen.
In order to accommodate the standard Challenge layout, this mode is played with the DS held sideways, with the top screen used exclusively for observing the opponent's progress. There are also several powerups that are unique to this mode.
These powerups are made available by clearing lines with ? tiles. (Note: The ? tile can be either color, and can be drawn through.) Clearing such a line will give you a single random powerup. Powerups are buttons along the inside of the screen and are gray if the disabled. To use a powerup simply click on its icon. Only one powerup can be enabled at a time, and the powerups expire after a short duration. You can change the active powerup by selecting another, if there is still time remaining, the powerup will remain available, and the newly selected powerup will be activated.
- Block Represented by a square icon; will turn all of the blocks that you send to your opponent's screen will appear as solid blue blocks that can be drawn through, but not cleared. When all other lines are cleared these blocks will revert to the normal black and white, and can be cleared as normal lines
- Speed Up Repesented by an arrow pointing to your opponent's screen; increases the speed at which lines move from your screen to your opponent's
- Slow Down Repesented by an arrow pointing to your own screen; decreases the speed at which lines move to your screen from your opponent's
- Surround Represented by a square icon with an X through it; prevents your opponent from drawing in the border around their screen
- Switch Repersented by a pair of black and white circular arrows; causes all of your opponent's tile's colors
Polarium was one of the first games on the Nintendo DS to allow Download Play. Owners who do not have a copy of Polarium can download a demo version of the game to their system from a friend (or Nintendo kiosk in Japan).
Here are the following modes in the Demo Version:
- Tutorial: Same as in the full version.
- Puzzles: This mode includes ten sample puzzles.
- Versus: Same as in the full version.