Brought to you by 4Pockets, Super Elemental is like Puzzle Bobble with a dash of Arkanoid and Bejeweled put in for a good mix. This is a seemingly popular genre that countless developers are trying to profit on after Bejeweled and of course, Puzzle Bobble’s enduring successes. On that note, 4Pockets brings a solid game to the Pocket PC.
The goal of Super Elemental is to match elements of the same color together. Fire goes with fire. Water goes with water. Three or more elements lined up in diagonal, horizontal or vertical fashion will cause them to disappear from the board. As the game progresses, more rows are added, so the challenge of beating the clock is factored in. The trick is to place them cleverly in order to cause cascading effects a la Bejeweled. If you’re like me, these splashy effects only happen by chance, rather than design.
Super Elemental throws in a different twist to the overall mechanics of this puzzle sub-genre. You’re allowed to add elements while the cascading effects happen. This potentially opens up an opportunity to exacerbate the damage you’re already doing in clearing the board. While Super Elemental’s controls feel slower-paced than some of the competing Pocket PC games (Digital Concept’s Bust’em comes to mind), this gives the game some much needed spontaneity.
The elements can change into different colors as well. This forces you to constantly re-evaluate tactics on the fly, which adds another layer of complexity to the three set levels of difficulty in the game. Bonus points are awarded for expertly arranged combos and bonus levels are available for play too.
One of Super Elemental’s bullet point features is the absence of cute dragons and cartoon game characters. In its place are some high color 320x240 backdrops. None of them are too interesting. Considering the recommendation to use a 200+ mhz PDA for play, I would’ve expected more background animations, kaleidoscopes or collages. The lack of any iconic figures makes Super Elemental a by the books puzzle game. It doesn’t go wrong anywhere. It is, however, missing the cute icons to make it friendlier and more identifiable to the every day handheld owner. With a low footprint and a $14.95 price point, these faults are slightly more forgivable.
[08/10] Program Size
[13/15] Learning Curve