Rainbow Web II a well-produced puzzler for the casual crowd

Posted: August 4, 2009 in Puzzle

The iPhone/iPod Touch gaming platform is targeted at the casual gamer, but over the past few months with the release of more games, the line between casual and not so casual can often be blurred. One developer Big Fish Games makes it perfectly clear in its corporate boilerplate that the casual gamer is its target audience. That explains its new game Rainbow Web II, a family-oriented, G-rated (if you will), game that is exceedingly well done in both the artwork and the terrific mix of games. The mini-games and puzzles won’t strain your brain, but they’re entertaining and challenging enough to keep you busy for a few hours.

The story in Rainbow Web II surrounds the Rainbow Kingdom where the Sorcerer Spider has been defeated and the lands freed, but the Royal Palace still remains under a magic spell. Translation: Rescue the royals’ mansion from magical foreclosure. The task involves individually freeing each of the 13 rooms in the palace through a combination of match-3, jigsaw puzzles and hidden object games. The artwork representing each of the rooms is beautifully done with amazing detail, and the music has a medieval fantasy tone that reminds of Renaissance fairs. Each scenes are static images so don’t expect any animation, but they fit nicely within the structure of the game.

The game offers an overview map that charts progress through the levels and rooms throughout the palace. Each room is introduced with a part of the storyline rather eloquently in dialogue boxes that you can scroll through. Points are tallied at the end of each puzzle, specifically the match-3 games, for combos and time to complete. The puzzles and games aren’t timed, and each of the sections are designed with pick-up-and-play in mind.

Since we’re talking about the Sorcerer Spider, the match-3 mini-games are unique because they’re in the form of spider webs—7 different forms to be exact and 62 levels—and while the object of the game is to clear matching colored orbs, the catch is that you need to clear orbs with letters to spell names of certain rooms or objects. For example, orbs can only be matched and cleared if they’re connected by a vertical or horizontal web string, which are conveniently missing in many cases. Additional orb colors are introduced later, most notably the black one. The black orb cannot be moved or cleared unless it reaches the outer edge of the web. Remember, certain orbs have letters on them that needed to be cleared to fill in the letters of the given phrase. These puzzles typically took me about 10-15 minutes to clear because of the complexity of the web designs.

To mix things up a bit, mini-jigsaw puzzles are weaved into the gameplay, and these involve objects such as keys and swords. The sliding puzzles automatically lock in when moved to the right spot, and upon completion, these unlock other levels. Another type of puzzle in Rainbow Webs II is the hidden object game where the objective is to locate pieces hidden within a room to complete an object (e.g. vase). A hint function is provided and you do get docked points for tapping too much. The zoom function is activated by pinching, and you can also pan the scene by dragging the screen.

Rainbow Web II offers a good variety of gameplay, and I found myself reading through the story. While not the next great American novel, it’s does keep you engaged and provides purpose to the game. As puzzles are completed, objects will appear in scenes, and combined with the soundtrack can be quite whimsical. While the jigsaw puzzles can be completed relatively quickly and really not difficult at all, the hidden object games do require a good eye. Of course, the bulk of your time will be on the spider web match-3 games which as I mentioned are not impossible, but still challenging.

In general, some may find the various games easy and repetitive which admittedly they can be depending on your skill level. As I said, the puzzles will not strain your brain. Having said that, Rainbow Web II is the epitome of a well-done casual game appropriate for adults and kids. The games are simple enough in concept, yet challenging enough for children. The scenes are visually appealing and the story charming that can keep anyone satisfied and entertained for a few hours.

Albie Meter: 4 Stars (good variety of mini-games and puzzles with an engaging storyline; visuals are top notch with and immersive soundtrack; some may find the puzzles repetitive; if you’re not into Renaissance tunes, you can also play your own)

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