Rainbow Mystery has three modes of play – Relaxed, Adventure and Duel. All three modes take place in the Rainbow Village and then the Rainbow County. The story and maps are the same – it’s the style of play that varies. Your name is Lily and you were apprenticed to the herb enchantress (presumably to learn about herbs and flowers) in your childhood. You’ve finished your apprenticeship and are now returning to the village where you grew up. You quickly find that all is not well, and that a lingering unhappiness is haunting the village. I leave it to you to unveil the rest of the story as you play.
As you take each new step on the path, a new honeycomb puzzle grid is unveiled. A number of beautifully rendered flowers of different colors fill the grid. You will swap one flower with another flower in adjoining square to make lines of three or more of the same flowers. The more flowers you connect at one time, the higher your score. In addition, special cells have higher values.
You need to clear cells with colored rings by clearing flowers of matching color from those cells. The first time you clear each cell, the background color turns green. In some of the grids, some cells are blocked and you might have to line up like flowers one or two times to clear that block before you can clear the cell. Along with clearing the cells for points, some stops on the path contain powerful artifacts that you have to free. Each artifact is nicely drawn and has a new bit of lore associated with it. While the artifacts have no real effect on game play, other than through the points you earn by freeing them, each contributes (somewhat) to the progression of the story. You must clear all of the colored rings from a level, as well as any artifacts on that level, in order to progress to the next step of your story.
Relaxed mode allows you to play through each puzzle at your own leisurely pace. The gentle background music enhances the soothing pace of play. The only real competitive aspect is trying to beat the designated ‘expert’ score, or trying to best your own previous high score.
Adventure mode comes with a timer attached. You’ll only have so much time to clear each grid. Some of the grids can be more challenging that others, but there’s no real penalty for failure. You will get a message to try again and then can immediately start over on that particular puzzle. When you succeed at the puzzle, you’re shown the ‘expert’ time and score for completing the puzzle, your time and score for completing the puzzle, as well as some other game statistics.
I found Duel mode to be the most interesting twist. You and the computer controlled wizard are competing in the same grid for the highest score. You will take turns making moves. Happily, I found that I always get to go first, at least on the first level of difficulty. This mode was more challenging because you’re trying to score as well as prevent that pesky wizard from scoring. Some of the rounds went on quite long. We would both leave that last colored ring to clear while we tried to make enough point combinations to push our score comfortably over the score of the other player. As with Adventure mode, you can easily try again if you lose to the wizard. The score summary at the end of the round does keep track of how many wins you have, as well as how many wins the wizard has – both overall and in that particular puzzle grid.
The graphics for the flowers are particularly nice and the music complements it well. As you progress through the map, different features appear with some cute animations. Wait until you uncover the farm and farm animals, including the little mooing cows. I had a pretty good idea where the story was going, but it still followed a nice progression, especially with the addition of each artifact.
I found that if you play through all of the levels in both the Rainbow Village and Rainbow County, you are taken back to the beginning, but with the difficulty level now increased. While turning all the cells green is optional at the first level of difficulty, it’s a requirement when you get to level two. If you’re not happy with your score on a particular puzzle, you can click on any puzzle stage you’re already completed and try it again.
I really have only one main complaint from my hours Rainbow Mystery. If the game judges that you are taking too long between moves, it will suggest your next move. I’d appreciate it if it took a little longer. Especially in relaxed mode, I want to ponder the best move. I shouldn’t feel like I have to rush.
All things considered, I highly recommend Rainbow Mystery. I’m having a good time playing it. It’s a pretty game. I think you’ll enjoy it too.