Hanagumi Taisen Columns is a falling-block tile-matching puzzle game developed and published by Sega for the Sega Saturn in Japan on March 28, 1997.
A spin-off of the 1996 tactical-RPG Sakura Taisen, Hanagumi Taisen Columns utilizes Sega's signature falling-block game series Columns with the series' characters.
In addition to classic Columns, an objective-based Puzzle mode, and a revamped Versus mode (utilizing a unique "Spirit Gauge" system for attacking and defending), the game includes a Story Mode which serves as a visual novel utilizing the LIPS dialogue system with bits of the Puzzle and Versus modes for certain events.
It was later ported to arcades (using Saturn-based Sega ST-V hardware) on October 1997 and later received a Dreamcast sequel in 2000. The arcade version restricts the game to the Versus mode.
Hanagumi Taisen Columns is notable for its Spirit Gauge system, where clearing jewels fills up a meter that, when filled, brings up a time-limited dialog (reminiscent of the main series' LIPS system) to determine whether to either:
- Attack - Sends groups of "garbage blocks" to the opponent's playfield.
- Defense - Clears rows from the bottom of the playfield.
- Accumulate - Stores Spirit Levels to increase the power of the next Attack/Defense
When two Spirit Levels are accumulated, the Accumulate option is replaced with Magic Jewel: a powerful technique for clearing entire types of jewels on the playfield.
Unlike previous Columns games, attacks are more reminiscent of Puyo Puyo, as instead of raising and lowering the playfield, players deal with "garbage blocks" that are locked (as dice) for a certain amount of column placements.