[Review] “Five Elements” (iOS)

TITLE: “Five Elements”

DEVELOPER: RadicalBitSoftware

GENRE: Puzzle

PLATFORM: iOS (iPhone 3GS+)

RELEASE DATE: November 11, 2012

CURRENT PRICE: $1.99 USD

RATING: Everyone (10+)

Considering how many applications and games make their way onto the AppStore and Google Play, it is often hard to keep up with new releases from smaller studios.  Indeed, half-rate titles like “Final Fantasy: All the Bravest” will receive all the publicity in the world, yet there are many hidden gems that will often get overlooked.  So, it is always nice when I receive an email regarding an indie title that I had no clue even existed, and it is even better when that title proves fun to play!

One such fun, but overlooked, game is “Five Elements,” a neat little action/puzzle game for the iOS that was released in November of 2012.  The game play starts out simple yet easily grows complex as you go.  In each room of the game, you are presented with a certain number of elemental spheres that you need to destroy.  You can control any one sphere at a time and use your finger to create a trajectory for this sphere to travel down.  However, you won’t get unlimited moves: Each room has a set number of moves you can make and failure to complete the room will result in your score getting reset.  Thankfully, though, there are magical scrolls you can pick up that will grant you an extra chance.

Sound easy?

The game’s not as easy as it sounds.  The key to success lies in understanding how the different elements react to one another.  Fire and water cancel each other out, for example, while metal is melted by fire and yet fire can produce earth spheres.  Also, if you want to score well you will want to try your hand at different trick shots in order to collect the various coins and other objects spread throughout the play field.

When you find yourself in a bind, you’ll note that there are special spells you can use to produce different effects.  How many spells you can cast is dependent on your current score, and thus this is an incentive to score well as you play.  Why magical spells?  Technically, the story is that you are controlling a witch named Greta as she makes her way through this puzzle-filled fortress, so it actually does make sense.

Sure, the story is transparent (and potentially unnecessary anyway), but the gameplay is very nice and the game is accompanied by a relaxing soundtrack.  Overall, it leaves you with a good feeling when you are done playing it.

This game is currently for sale for just $1.99 on the AppStore, and in my opinion this is a fair asking price for what you get.  Also, RadicalBitSoftware is a small group and so your payment will help fund them and encourage them to work on more projects.

FINAL SCORE: 90% (A-)

A fun little puzzler that proves to be relaxing entertainment on the go.

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