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TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Suika Game’

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Well this is a weird one for a couple of different reasons. First, Suika Game isn’t exactly new. It launched on the Nintendo Switch in Japan way back in 2021, but some prominent game streamers discovered it last year and caused it to go viral in that country, and it fairly quickly found its way to the North American eShop. A mobile version seemed like a no-brainer given the gameplay, and this past January an official iOS version launched in Japan. Quietly at the beginning of this month that iOS version was updated with English language support and pushed out to more countries, but it wasn’t until this past week that we were made aware of this. I guess we’re not exactly on the cutting edge, are we?

Besides not technically being a “new" release Suika Game is also kind of an odd pick for a Game of the Week because it was only last month that we chose Galaxy Mix as our Game of the Week, a game that was openly and proudly inspired by Suika Game and did its darndest to put its own unique twists on the “merging large spherical-shaped objects" formula. Indeed, Galaxy Mix is excellent, and does have a handful of cool features that are not present in Suika Game proper. However, as someone who didn’t play the original on Switch or in its somewhat janky web-based form, this week has been my first experience with the real-deal Suika Game, and I’ve got to say… I think I like it more.

There’s just something different about the physics of Suika Game compared to Galaxy Mix and similar titles. It’s very hard to explain but having been jumping back and forth between the two games all week, comparing and contrasting, they are most definitely quite different from one another in terms of feel. And while the power-ups and combo scoring in Galaxy Mix are neat features that do differentiate it, I’m feeling more drawn to the purity of Suika Game. This is a no-frills high-score chaser, and the lack of combos means I’m not accidentally creating a sticky situation for myself trying to build up a huge chain reaction, and no power-ups keeps my focus squarely on the space management of the jar and not hoping in the back of my mind that I’ll get bailed out of that sticky situation thanks to a lucky power-up.

On the flip side, it’s only fair to point out what I think Galaxy Mix does better than in Suika Game. Namely this has to do with controls. Galaxy Mix has a relative touch scheme, meaning you can drag anywhere on the screen to move your little aimer line. This is nice if you want to move your hand out of the way to see what’s going on and then make a move. In Suika Game the aimer line snaps to wherever you touch on the screen, so on more than one occasion I’ve found myself taking my thumb off the screen to plan my next move and then having the aimer snap to a location I wasn’t expecting when I put my thumb back to make that move, thus dropping a fruit somewhere I wasn’t intending to. This can REALLY screw up a game, but it’s a pretty minor nitpick and I’m starting to get used to it. Still, a relative touch option would be most welcome.

A cool option in Suika Game that’s not in Galaxy Mix is the ability to play in landscape if you want. This somewhat addresses the issue I mention above since in landscape you control the game with virtual buttons, either movement arrows and a drop button flanking either side of the play area or all controls on either the left or right side of the play area for ambidextrous one-handed landscape play. Obviously the game is inherently suited to portrait orientation given the shape of the play area, and you’d have to be a borderline psychopath to WANT to play in landscape mode, but I appreciate that the option is there for all the sickos out there. I kid, I kid.

I really do think the two games are different enough that they’ll both find a permanent spot on my phone for the foreseeable future, but after binging on Galaxy Mix for a month straight and kind of burning myself out, Suika Game is offering a nice change of pace while still having that “one more go" gameplay that’s easy to pick up and play but hard to put away. Gosh, that was like every mobile game cliche in one sentence, but I stand by it. If you’re a Galaxy Mix fan I think it’s worth the few bucks to see what the OG is all about, and if you’re a Suika Game hardcore then it’s well worth plopping a buck down to see what the competition brings to the table. One thing’s for sure, we’re well-served in the “merging large spherical-shaped objects" genre on mobile and I ain’t complaining. Finally, this piece was heavily a comparison between two specific games since that is the perspective I was coming from personally, but for a more general look at Suika Game on its own check out our review and maybe even learn a thing or two with our tips and tricks guide.

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