swifty's hq v2.2 > main > pkmn > voltorb

guide to voltorb flipping


voltorb flip is a minigame featured in heartgold and soulsilver that replaces the slots minigame in the western and korean versions of the game due to gambling laws. it's a bit like minesweeper and picross, where you have to puzzle out where the mines - or voltorbs - are, and where the high value tiles are.

the game may seem arcane at first, but after playing this minigame for... probably hours, i've picked up some basic tips and tricks to succeeding to higher levels of the minigame with ease.

if you lack the game at hand, you can actually play it in your browser here!



firstly, we have single tiles, double tiles, and triple tiles. the score tiles not only add onto and multiply your score, but clearing all of the double and triple tiles is the real 'point' of the game. single tiles, which look like the number 1 when flipped over, don't progress the game when flipped. they are essentially an 'empty' tile.

voltorbs are the mines, as said before, and flipping over even one of them will end your current game. you may rank down depending on amount of 2/3 tiles currently flipped over, sometimes all the way to rank 1 again. but it's fine! expect to lose often, especially at first, and especially past level 5.

when playing, make gratuitous use of the marking tool to mark where potential bombs are. i tend to just mark any tile i think could BE a bomb, or tiles that are guaranteed 1s, with just the voltorb symbol. if i get the bonus tile in the row, i will simply mark the rest of the tiles in that row with a voltorb each for ease of use.

with your toolset ready, let's begin!

step 1: find clearable rows

a cleared column

the first step to figuring out where the voltorbs are is to flip over the columns or rows where there are no bombs at all.

these rows are indicated with 0 voltorbs and a top number starting at 5 and going up, depending on the amount of 2 or 3 tiles hidden there.

if you have a clear row that reads '5 / 0 voltorbs', that's a dud, and you can just completely mark that one off as 'bomb or 1'.

step 2: find the duds

starts clearing

row and column counts that fall under 'dud' include values of 1/4, 5/0, and 2/3.

a visual example of some dud rows:


these are all rows with either 1 tiles or bombs, which means you can mark them as duds!

these can be reversed for the same effect - 4/1, 3/2, etc. all means that the entire section is either completely 1s or a combination of 1s and bombs. basically, don't touch them. mark them as such, so you don't take risks you don't need to be taking.

here's an example of a board that's been marked fully in level 1 before guesswork happens:

ready to win

step 3: use clues

probably the most time-intensive part. if you flipped over any 2s or 3s during your first step, use those to recalculate what that row still needs to fit its ratio.

for example, if you have a row with a single 2 tile flipped, and it reads as 5 tiles, 1 bomb, that means you found the special tiles in that row, and that you can mark off the rest.


for example, here's some examples of some simpler combos, and what tiles they probably have in their rows

  • 5/1: one x2 tile
  • 6/1: two x2 tiles or one x3 tile
  • 3/3: one x2 tile
  • 4/4: two x2 tiles or one x3 tile

from here you can use your best judgement with revealed tiles.

step 4: pray

regardless of how well you can puzzle out tile counts, there's always RNG in play, even on earlier levels. if you're unlucky, you won't have a useful dud row at all, no zero-bomb columns, or sometimes, you can get into a predicament where there are no clues left for you, and you're stuck between a few tiles that are equally likely to be a bomb or bonus tile. if you're less unlucky, you can poke at lower-risk columns and break out of that. if you're not, well...

thankfully, earlier stages are more forgiving, with low tile counts and low(er) bomb counts. above level 5, the game starts becoming too random to guarantee wins. the best you can do is try to keep your head above water and don't strike out early so you don't get a rank-down too early.

step 5: profit


thats all, really, that i use to play. mark as generously as possible, and be aware of what you've got uncovered in different rows.