As we go about our busy lives we don't always have reason to stop and appreciate the constant things we rely on that make those lives possible. Gravity, for instance. Without it we'd all be flung off into space, and that's just the sort of thing that would put a damper on all our important posting activities on the social networks. In Mobius Digital's new puzzle roleplaying game for iOS and Android Terra Chroma, the people in the land of Sunyata have to think about it. The fundamental mystic elemental forces that hold their world together have come unglued and are now tearing it apart. Blue water Eidolons roam the frozen tundra of Fraust, melting the land away into ocean. Harsh light plays balefully across desert wastes of Dekku, fusing them into unpassable labyrinths of yellow glass. Green earth Eidolons wander across the gentle verdant plains, turning them into savage lands choked thick with brambles. Red volcanic Eidolons pour a trail of molten lava wantonly across Kabuzan. Something has put the metaphysical energies behind the Eidolons out of alignment and naturally ['unnaturally,'] tourism is at a bit of a low point. Fortunately there are the Alchromists, scholars of the underlying metaphysical forces with the ability to bring the elements back into alignment, which is absolutely great news if you happen to own property in Sunyata. By tracing tetrominos, those four-square shape patterns we all remember from Tetris, over the landscape, water can be frozen back into tundra for example and the terrain can resume its regularly-scheduled programming.
You'll start off as a Hydromancer in the frozen tundra of Fraust. See those spots on the terrain where the ice has melted away and the land should be? Eidolon work, that. By visiting those spots you'll encounter puzzles, and solving them will heal the landscape. The bigger the disruption to the natural harmony, the tougher the puzzle will be and the more base experience solving the puzzle is worth. Puzzle missions range from Easy ones like finding - or creating - your way to the exit, to saving the town from rampaging Eidolons, to tougher one-chance timed puzzles like Storms where you have to sort it while the timer ticks down half a minute to get the full experience, or you'll restart the puzzle in an easier mode. Completing a puzzle gives you the option to solve it again - with different pieces this time - for a chance at gold but no experience. Each puzzle will start you off with randomly-selected tetrominos and tracing their shape will convert [for example] any water tiles within it into tundra, as well as turn tundra into water. You'll usually need to clear a path to the exit, but you'll be limited by the shapes you have to work with (determined by your Knowledge level) and how many there are (determined by your Endurance). Eidolons will often roam through the puzzle, converting passable land tiles into water or water back into land depending on whether they've gone rogue or are still in their natural alignment. Drawing shapes over rogue Eidolons will dissipate them in addition to converting their tile into passable land, but some will need to be magicked more than once as indicated by a black shadow underneath them. The puzzles are turnbased so you'll make your move and then the Eidolons will make theirs, but only casting shapes costs a 'turn' - walking back and forth, or nabbing some available treasure, will prompt the Eidolons to move around but still be free to do. This can be a good thing, enabling you to let them get closer to pick off two with a single casting, or to let harmonious Eidolons restore more of the puzzle's landscape without wasting a shape. This is important, since when you complete a puzzle you're rewarded experience based on its difficulty level, and then multiplied by every shape you didn't use up!
If you've opened a route to them and gotten the Eidolons taken care of, you can stop to pick up gold and gems scattered about the puzzles. These can be cashed in back in town so you can afford one-time buffing items to smooth the way in later puzzles if you need them. You can also pick up storyline flavor, gossip and hints while you're there by visiting an Inn, or redeem the Attribute Points you get from leveling to buy Endurance for more moves in puzzles, and Knowledge to make more shape types available. Since the experience gained on solving a puzzle is determined by how many moves you have left, Endurance bought early quickly pays for itself. From the beautiful graphics, the mellow and pleasant soundtrack which can be turned off in favor of your own music while keeping the sound effects, to the intricately-detailed Sunyatan cultures, we found this one top-notch with every civilized amenity. Other than forfeiting the experience from Hard mode for timed puzzles, you can restart or leave a puzzle without penalty. Terra Chroma autosaves on completing each puzzle, the puzzles are auto-generated so they stay varied, and there's a complete tutorial and an engaging, branching storyline. You can even teleport back into town wherever you are on the map and when you're done you have the option to return to the exact spot you left, or you can just continue from town. Terra Chroma is even friendly on older and mid-grade phones, though there were a few graphic loading problems on some devices which they've addressed in a recent update. If the puzzles are getting too difficult, there are plenty of optional non-storyline puzzles to backtrack and solve for more experience, healing the land as you solve them. Then you can retry the tougher ones again with more moves and shapes. And despite that we still found the level design to stay fresh and varied, with things like water currents that turn tundra into moving floes of ice which can temporarily link up landmasses in a puzzle for safe passage - or even be stood on and ridden! They'll eventually crash into rock formations or the bounds of the screen however, and so it's not advisable to be on them when that happens. Terra Chroma even provides a smooth and informative tutorial to get you started, and if a great puzzle game rich in storyline and atmosphere in a relaxing gaming environment with a few roleplaying elements thrown in for good measure sounds just your thing, Terra Chroma certainly isn't one to miss!