I will always love block-clearing puzzle games. No matter how advanced videogames get, the pure, simple joy of slotting little coloured blocks together, and watching them fizzle away satisfyingly, will always tickle a very specific part of my brain. It's the reason I keep an original Game Boy with Tetris on my desk, why I fondly reminisce about the many happy hours I spent playing Lumines on the PSP, and why I've fallen hard for Mixolumia (opens in new tab).
It's a pretty standard block puzzler. Connect the colours, watch them disappear. But the diamond-shaped play space, and its simulated gravity, is an interesting spin on the genre. Blocks can split apart and slide down the angled parts of the board, letting you set up chain reactions. You won't really understand till you play, but when you feel it, it just makes sense—and it's immensely satisfying.
And feel is what makes Mixolumia special. The way the music reacts to your inputs, the swirling particles as you trigger a long chain reaction, the airy chimes when blocks disappear, the slight judder of the board as you move them from side to side. It's a real treat for the senses and just feels really nice to play, whether you're using a keyboard or a controller.
There are a few modes to choose from, including the Tetris-inspired Marathon, in which you have to clear 450 blocks with the drop speed gradually increasing. If you prefer something less intense, the Relaxed mode sticks to one speed and there's no game over. There's also the fast-paced Rush mode, with a two-minute time limit, for people who want a stiffer challenge.
There are some nice extras too, like being able to choose from a selection of tasteful, stylish colour palettes. You can create and share your own colour palettes, and there's even a third-party tool (opens in new tab) to make doing so easier. Or, if you're willing to read through some pretty lengthy documentation (opens in new tab), you can even add your own dynamic music and sound effects to the game.(opens in new tab)
Mixolumia is currently one of the best-selling games on Itch (opens in new tab), and I can see why. Not many people are making block puzzlers these days, especially on PC. And there's something about this one where you just know it'll be good the instant you see it in motion. Between this and the magnificent Tetris Effect (opens in new tab), it's great to see the genre having something of a small-scale resurgence.