Please do not disturb. I’m having a zen moment here.
By definition, Zen is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism. It emphasizes the value of meditation and intuition. It is also a slang for feeling peaceful and relaxed. Indeed, this puzzle game app will make you feel as so, for within the game the principles of minimalism abound. At first glance, the game looked too simple to give any attention to. But once you start playing, you will become competitive… in a zen way.
Become a Master of the Elements.
Currently, elements used in the game are Water, Lava, and Wind. Earth will come soon in a patch.
The rule of the game is to ensure all holes are filled with an element, and all elements should be used. The number of dots on the elements state how many holes it can fill.
Touch on an element and drag across the screen towards the direction you want it to go to. If you made a mistake, you can always undo by pressing the green icon on a used element. This will retract used elements.
Each element has its own rules to follow. Water can skip other water filled holes. Lava skips other lava filled holes. When lava encounters water element in a hole, it floods the hole, then water becomes lava. If the water encounters lava element in a hole, all elements vanish and leaving an empty hole.
The wind element shifts direction to where your elements will flow. So take close attention to which direction the wind arrows are pointing to.
Levels I and II are levels that incorporate all described elements into more complex puzzles.
Principles of Minimalism, Omit Needless Things. Riddle of Elements have done just that.
In all honesty, my first impression of Riddle of the Elements is it’s too simple compared to the other apps I’ve reviewed. The graphics looked something out of the SNES days, which is a good thing, by the way. Yet, it can be boring to work with if nothing out of the ordinary happens in it. While playing the tutorials, I was almost hoping for an RPG character to start strolling across the grass to provide some animation. Things looked too simple.
After the first few levels, I discovered the treasure this game held when the holes and dice like elements started to grow in number. You will start to take into consideration the effect of each element into each other, and how each effect can make or break your chances to completing the stage.
The best part is, regardless of the boundless number of mistakes I can do on one level, I’m not pressured at all since there are no time limit and points needed. Also, if you feel confident to skip levels you can do so. You won’t be barred to go linear in this game.
There were times I was looking for a hint guide but didn’t find any. Nevertheless, it’s a tolerable lack of requirement because despite how much the game relies on logically figuring out the sequence elements must be activated, the essence of following your intuition can be felt, and that is saying something for a game.
Water, Lava and Wind Levels also makes good use of background music. It was melodic, calming, and magical, all perfectly done to personify the theme of the game. By Level I and Level II though, a hint of the pop genre enters the music. It somehow signifies that since you have understood and conquered levels in each element, now is the time to elevate your skills further and take on harder levels.
If anything, the simplicity of the game removed needless distraction. Well, maybe except for the ads. Speaking about ads, I was confused with the “Remove Ads, Get Full Version” seen on the splash page. When I tap on it, it requires a $1.30 payment. I get the removing the ads part because those pop-ups can be disruptive while playing, but as for the ‘Get Full Version’ part, am I to expect there are more levels available? I think this has to be made clearer. With the number of levels I’ve seen so far, those are already a lot. If there are more, wow.
I truly like this game. The learning curve is simple and fun. Although, I think the graphics can have more improvement to be more eye-candy in a minimalist way. It could be my current immersion to flat design these days that has become the basis of this perspective, but I think it wouldn’t be bad to give it a shot since everything on the net these days does refer to sophistication in minimalist but functional design preferences.
As for its gameplay, it’s simply marvelous, addicting, and brain immersive.
Developer: Grzegorz Stapala