Combining the usual match 3+ game mechanics with tunnelling underground strategy elements is an absolute winner. Each level starts with a pocket of energy (an element) at one side, and an orb at another. Your challenge is blast a tunnel to let the energy flow to the orb and you do this by matching coloured gems in groups of three or more. This blasts away the ground underneath, all the blocks above slide down in an endless stream and you continue on your way. The bigger the chain however the bigger the explosion so when you arrive on ice blocks and boulders, these are best exploded by getting huge chains erupting next to them to take those out too. Each level is timed so after the first ten levels or so you’ll start worrying about making quick progress too.
The final twist is that each of the four colours of gems also fill up their own power meters. Greens act as shovels to remove one block of earth so if you’re absolutely stuck in a narrow corridor on the level, these are useful. Red’s blow up a large area of gems but not earth, yellow’s allow you to swap two gems places to create new chains and blues are for completely remixing every gem on the screen. Later on the level designs take these into account and force you to work on chaining a certain colour to use that power up to progress.
As a mini extra your points let you build up a castle should you feel the need to do this but the replay value comes from online scoreboards and trying to get higher up the table. The trophies are simple and achievable too. The game features move support and this works very well however when your under serious time pressure sometimes its easier to revert back to the controller for speed.
~Great nuance into a tried and tested formula
~Move support works well
~I’ve read the PC version has hidden objects levels but they seem to be absent in the PS3 version.
4 Elements HD is a perfect casual game for people who are Bejeweled and Peggele’d out and want a fresh challenge that’s a further step up the gaming ladder in terms of strategy and planning. Superb.