A Japan-only arcade game released in the same year as its predecessor, Columns II: The Voyage Through Time is the second game in the Columns franchise. The game was released in 1990 for Japanese arcades, although it was later included in the Sega Saturn compilation titled Sega Ages: Columns Arcade Collection. Featuring almost exactly the same type of gameplay with very little expansion on the concepts established in the first game, and due to the limited release, the game is not nearly as well known as its predecessor, the original Columns. Additionally, the "The Voyage Through Time" subtitle has caused some minor confusion, due to the lack of a storyline; although some fans have speculated that the new background sets may indicate travel through ages.
The largest difference between Columns and Columns II is the inclusion of new backgrounds. Although the game does include the background from Columns, these two games are only discernible due to the positioning of the score. However, there are a variety of other available backgrounds, including the machine theme, the pale green theme, and the classic theme.
Not content with merely changing the backgrounds, Columns II also features the ability to change the appearance of the jewels. They can be transformed into other shapes, including abstract shapes.
The traditional Columns gameplay is retained. Players must line up three colored blocks in a row (ranging from blue, yellow, purple, red, or orange) in order to make them disappear, improving the score and increasing the difficulty. Players can rotate the order of the jewels vertically, although the player has no control over the vertical aspect of gameplay.