The Golden Path of Plumebloom: Physics-based Match 3

Posted: April 26, 2009 in Puzzle, Strategy

The Golden Path of Plumebloom is a mouthful when you’re trying to say it fast, but the game is a hidden gem if you like casual Match-3 puzzle games.  What differentiates GPP from other Match-3 games are the mechanics and the visual presentation.  Strange as it sounds, the storyline is somewhat creative: Plumebloom the Peacock has uncovered a treasure map and your job is to help him discover those treasures within the caves.

GPP has more than 100 levels with each consisting of a unique lock.  To unlock each, you have to clear out the orbs via matches of 3 or more of the same color orbs.  The levels have names such as Treasure Grotto, Underground Maze and Room of Gold.  In the center of each lock is a crystal that gradually turns red as time elapses which coincides with the timer bar at the top of the screen.  The shooter is at the bottom which you tilt to move it left or right and tap the screen to fire.  You can swap the color of the orb by shaking the device, and the next orb color is indicated on the two sides of the shooter.  The power behind a shot is release sensitive: a quick tap will rapidly fire an orb while a longer tap (hold and then release) will increase the power of the shot.  Btw, there’s also a great tutorial and optional hint function that walks you through the game.

In the terms of the gameplay, the physics used in the game are done extremely well.  The orbs are incorporated into each lock, and as you make matches, it turns the lock in various directions based on the match and resulting chain reactions if any.  In addition, you can also angle and bounce orbs off the walls if you’re trying to land them somewhere specific.  I found that by making strategic matches/creating chain reactions, dropping orbs in various places, and angling orbs off the walls, I could effectively rotate or even stop the lock’s movement.  Of course, if I miscalculated, I would not make my match and the lock would rotate in another direction. The challenge is that each lock is different, and the orbs are located in various crevices, some difficult to reach.  The mechanics are amusing to watch.  As you make certain matches, gems will also drop which you can collect for bonus points using your shooter.  Keep in mind that your main objective is still to clear the board through matches, unlocking the door before time runs out.  By using tapping into the power of your shot, you can actually bouncing orbs off of each or hit the lock hard enough to changing the rotation.

There are also various powerups including Bomb, Lightening, and Firecracker which randomly clear out orbs; Rainbow which turns random orbs into the same color; AntiGravity which frees the orbs from the locks for a limited time, and Metal Orb which randomly knocks orbs out of the lock.  Besides time, the other obstacle is Lasers which shoots out additional orbs which can clutter the board as you’re trying to make matches.

For me, the game is not particularly challenging although it does make think about positioning shots.  There is a certain addictive quality to it, and in a way it reminds me of the earlier versions of another match-3 game Gemmed where casual gaming was the objective.  If you’re looking for a fun game with an understated degree of challenge, Golden Path of Plumebloom may be for you.

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