Turn on, tune in, drop orbs.
Despite its best efforts, Soldam: Drop, Connect, Erase's subtitle doesn't fully explain what the core action of the game is. A very colorful puzzle game, Soldam takes some time to master the nuances of play, but once it clicks there's a fun little puzzle game. It just might be a bit difficult to find someone to jump on for the ride.
The game is a simple 2d falling object puzzle game. A square of four orbs drops from the bottom of the screen in different colors; up to two to start, and getting to as many as four in certain modes once certain score milestones are reached. The goal is to create horizontal lines of the same color, but when the orbs hit bottom they can change the color of orbs on the field. If two orbs of the same color can meet in a line, any orbs in the way of a different color are changed to the paired color which can create very large clears. Although the field is nominally ten orbs wide, the field is divided into five columns to show where the blocks can be dropped. This did confuse me on occasion as I tried to drop a block onto positions 2 and 3, only to have it not work. Another frustration might come for colorblind players, as the only distinguishing feature for the orbs is the color (red, blue, yellow and green). If you're having difficulty seeing the colors in the options menu below, you'll need to avoid Soldam until/unless they patch it or use the Switch's built-in options that make the graphics markedly less attractive..
The standard modes for a puzzle game are included: a marathon mode, a five minute score challenge, and a puzzle mode. Scoring well in the time challenges or the story mode unlocks new forms of Plumis, which are little mascot characters that hang out on the left side of the screen during single player games. They're cute, but largely useless. The forty Plumi are kept in a Plumidex accessible from the main screen for quick perusal.
There is a two-player mode that works both locally and online, but also changes the rules quite a bit. The field shrinks, and the two players are assigned red and blue and can only clear those colors, but the biggest twist is that the next piece is first come, first served. Whoever has their move finish first gets the piece, so there's some mind games in trying to finish quickly before the other player snags the piece that sets up the perfect move. The local play works well in handheld or docked mode, but the online play takes a long time to get a match and has massive lag. It felt like the game slowed down to a quarter of its normal speed, no matter what mode of the Switch I was in or who I played against. There's also no friend matching, just purely random matches.
Soldam is a fun concept, but out of the box there's some issues that hopefully will be addressed in the future. The online is barely playable, and there's a major accessibility failure present. Still, it's fun for a quick round or two if you're looking for a break from the hardcore Puyo Puyo Tetris marathon.