Polimines 2

Yeah, it’s been a while. Thank you SO much for sticking around. Things should be back to normal in December, until Christmas when it won’t be. But right now, here’s an absolutely brilliant game, that’s far better than I was expecting. And I was expecting high levels of far-betterness.

We (he said, pretending there’s a team of him) reviewed the original Picross meets Hexcells puzzler Polimines back in April 2022, and we said “duh duh dis game is gud game” in our best writing. The £2 game’s greatest crime was that it was only 25 levels long, and it really only found its super-tough grove around level 19. (It’s 30 levels long now.) Well, you can dramatically and passionately sweep all that off the table, because now it’s time to embrace Polimines 2 and smooch it all over.

This summer, a demo of Polimines 2 appeared in a Next Fest, and turned out to be a 15-level entire game in its own right. Picking up where the first game left off, it meant all 15 levels were much more involved and interesting, and thus lasted an awful lot longer. So what could we expect from the final game?! Turns out, it’s so much.

In mercenary numerical terms, this has 60 levels, but given the vastly increased complexity, size, and abundance of new rules, it isn’t just twice as long as the original. It’s vastly longer-lasting, individual puzzles keeping me joyfully engaged for entire evenings. And gosh it’s harder. It’s so very much harder. But in such excellent ways.

There are very few PC puzzle games of this sort I hold in high esteem. And by this sort, I mean these deductive puzzlers, where it’s about searching for the next possible move – as opposed to your Stephen’s Sausage Roll or A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build, which are brilliant, but way too cerebral for me. That handful of games includes (because I’m bound to have forgotten at least two) Hexcells, Tametsi, Ethereal, and Polimines 2.

It would be very silly to play this without playing the original game first, and given you can get both for under £11 I don’t want to hear any excuses, since P2 very naturally flows on from the end of the previous. And as such, so does this review – go read the previous one for the basics of what you actually do – it’s splendidly well written. The difficulty curve climbs naturally from that point, as the game introduces a few new rules to create more involved puzzles. Rules include a new revealed tile that requires that any highlighted tiles among all eight surrounding it be contiguous. Another informs you that the tiles immediately above and below must be highlighted, and that any contiguous chains from either be of the same number.

I explained that so well. I used “contiguous” twice. I could have said “conterminous” one of the times, but that felt far too pretentious.

Look, these things are always nightmarish to describe in an enigmatic way, but the important part is these are deep, involving, juicy puzzles, that grip me the way the latter half of the all-conquering Tametsi does. So much so that I keep getting stuck and asking for hints in the friendly Discord for the game. I’m on puzzle 50 right now, which is a doozy, but if I kept putting off writing about this before I finished it, I’d have no subscribers left at all.

Oh, and like the first game, you can adjust the colour scheme to anything you like. I always set it to match Hexcells, because those are the Correct Colours for such games, and deviance is deviant. There’s also a way to write all over the puzzles, which is infinitely helpful, and demonstrates what a good understanding creator Molter has of his puzzle-nerd audience. This is simply tremendous, has kept me busy for countless hours while watching YouTube nonsense on the other screen, and I love it.

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks for this review, a delight to read! You’re good at this!

    On your advise I bought the first Polimines and it blew me away. I’m very curious to see what else Molter has waiting for us!

    Oh and I somehow missed your Etherial review, so add that to the list. Keep the reviews coming, love your work!

  2. This is great! It’s amazing how such seemingly small puzzles contain such a high degree of difficulty. My one annoyance is that oftentimes, there is literally only one piece of information that will unlock the rest of the grid, rather than multiple pieces of still-hard-to-suss-out information. One tends to get stuck until you stumble across it.

    In terms of the “minesweeper-likes” that you so clearly love, have you played Bombe? It’s an amazing meta-minesweeper-like which actually gets you to concretely define the rules that then get auto-applied to let you solve the puzzles.

  3. polimines 1 was good but sort of a breeze? this game is a collection of beautiful infuriating knots. i’m 23 levels in and at this point every one is a doozy.

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