You may have heard of Mancala, the brain-tickling strategy board game that’s older than the first recorded map of the world, but you may not have heard of its Indian variant, Ali Guli Mane. Originating in Karnataka in South India, the name “Ali Guli Mane” is a literal description of the board, which has a series of divots that the player can use to store their tokens.
Mystic Pillars, the first Nintendo Switch game from Bangalore-based studio, Holy Cow Productions, is a reimagining of the traditional board game set in Ancient India. A hundred Mancala-like logic puzzles lie between you, a mysterious traveller, and the answer about what happened to the fallen kingdom of Zampi. By destroying the magical pillars that are blocking the water, you can restore the land to life.
But the team didn’t just want to make a game — they wanted to represent their homeland, their culture, and lesser-known languages. Mystic Pillars has voiceovers in both English and Kannada, the local language in Bangalore, and the game itself is supported in over twenty languages, including Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Catalan.
You can download Mystic Pillars from the Nintendo eShop, where it costs £5 / $$6.99 with a launch discount of 10%. The Nintendo Switch version also includes 25 “completely refreshed puzzles”.