Just when you thought you haven’t seen anything new in 3-in-a-row puzzle games, along comes Rainbow Web from Sugar Games, a new downloadable diversion with a clever storyline, beautiful backdrops and new layers of strategy.

Rainbow Web is the latest in the 3-in-a-row craze that challenges players to swap neighboring gems to make a line of three or more same-colored stones, either vertically or horizontally.

Rainbow Web builds on this premise by introducing gamers to the idyllic world of the Rainbow Kingdom, now threatened by a malevolent spider wizard who has cast an evil spell on the land and its citizens. The wizard has spun a sinister web around all the scenery and creatures, so the desperate fairies and elves of this world have asked for your help to break the spell and free the kingdom from the spider’s grip.

To do this, you must align a minimum of three same-colored beads on spider webs in order to make them disappear. Unlike other 3-in-a-row games, however, Rainbow Web adds two main twists for each level:

  • One is that you can only link three or more same-colored beads if they’re connected by a Web string; as levels increase, some vertical and horizontal strings on the Web begin to disappear, making it more difficult to align beads together. To make matters more difficult, new bead colors are introduced over time.

  • Another strategic element is spelling words to finish the level. Some of the colored beads have letters on them, so you must align three or more same-colored beads with a letter on one or two of them, which helps the spell words, such as “”Yellow Hut.” When you create a word, it releases the object in the picture. The order of the words doesn’t matter, therefore in “Yellow Hut,” you can find the letters “H” and “U” before “Y.” But all letters must be found per level to advance through the game.

The main Classic mode puts a timer on each level, therefore you must spell the words within a predetermined amount of time. You’ll hear a clock ticking and the sound of a cuckoo bird when you’re just about out of time. If you fail to spell the words, you’ll have to restart the level again. The optional Relax mode is the same game but without a time restriction.

Gamers will enjoy seeing the static backdrops of the kingdom behind the spider webs, such as beautiful fields, waterfalls, forests and rainbow-filled skies. In between levels, players can gauge their overall progress with the aid of a huge map that highlights all the stops on the way to victory. This brain teaser features more than 60 levels in all, and with a dozen different background landscapes. And each of the 60 spider web layouts are unique.

While the utopian-like backdrops are easy on the eyes, the graphics in the forefront are only so-so. That is, the spider web and beads could look sharper and more 3-D to give the game a little more eye-candy, but this minor shortcoming isn’t going to ruin the experience for puzzle fans. Plus, the melodic and relaxing soundtrack fits the fantasy graphics nicely.

Rainbow Web is perfect for fans of 3-in-a-row games as new strategic elements are introduced to make the game deeper and more fun to play. It’s an ideal digital diversion regardless of your age, gender and skill level.

Give Rainbow Web a “spin” today by downloading the free trial demo.