Match three puzzle games are generally a-dime-a-dozen these days. Their premises are simplistic and similar to one another: connect three or more of the same colored dots to make them vanish, at which point more dots fall from above to replenish those that you just made disappear. 4 Elements HD from Boolat Games, however, takes this simple task and adds a fresh take on that generic formula.
At its heart, 4 Elements HD on the Playstation 3 is not a match three game; instead, at the core of the gameplay is a maze game. The objective is to get from point A to point B by way of the standard match three precepts. The game features 64 varied levels, ranging from the casual and easy straight-line stages near the beginning to widely snaking and difficult, boards at the end.
At the beginning of each level the player is shown where the ultimate objective lies and roughly how to get there. It is then up to the player to Match Three their way through the board to the end. Every time a match is made those spaces on the game grid open the way for the mystical energy to inch closer to the ending objective. Matches of five or more result in small explosions that open up more of the board, making it easier to reach the goal at the end of the stage. All the while the timer on the right of the screen keeps ticking away. Let it run out before you finish the maze and it’s Game Over.
Along the way, the player is given access to four power-ups to help in their task. Each of the power-ups corresponds to one of the colored elements on the game board; with each match, part of the power-up magic fills slightly.
Online leaderboards for the total sum of a player’s score help keep a level of interest in the game even after completion. There are also “hidden” leaderboards for each individual level; after you beat a board you are shown your position among all PSN players, but unfortunately you can’t see who is above and below you – you can only see the top overall player and how your score compares to them.
Overall, 4 Elements HD on the PS3 kept me very entertained – certainly entertained enough for me to complete all 64 levels. It might not be the best puzzle game out there on PSN, but if you are a fan of the genre and are looking for a unique twist on the oftentimes generic match three style of puzzler, it is definitely worth a look.