If you think you’ve seen it all when it comes to gem-matching game variations, Rain Talisman will prove you wrong. The game takes a unique approach to the time-tested match-three genre. But whether it’s worth your time or not is the real question.

Rain Talisman‘s objective is for you to try to eliminate spheres from the game board by forming rectangles or straight diagonal lines of four or more spheres of the same color. Spheres are embedded into wheels and to make matches you rotate these wheels clockwise or counter-clockwise using your right and left mouse buttons respectively. Depending on the game mode you play, you may have to rotate the actual board as well by clicking the directional buttons located just beyond the board borders.

The game features three modes of play, all of which involves the use of the same gaming interface. In Action mode you have to fill up a certain gold bar by making successful matches before time, as represented by the silver bar, runs out. In Strategy mode, the silver bar now represents a limited number of moves you can use to fill up the gold bar, but besides this minor change, still follows the same mechanics as Action mode.

The Puzzle mode, however, is quite different from the other two. In this mode, spheres are not continuously replenished during play, which means that you’ll have to fill up the gold bar using only your initial set of spheres. A time limit is still present, though, so you’ll still have to play both fast and efficient to get past this game mode.

Throughout the game, a Shuffle button is conveniently provided for you to take advantage of whenever you get stuck with no more spheres to match. But be wary of using this button too much, because for every use, you’ll be penalized with a little decrease on your silver bar. This means less time or moves for you to finish the game with, and you wouldn’t want that during crunch time, would you?

Power-ups in this game include types that directly affect the status bars like Freeze, which stops the silver bar from ticking away, and Extra-score, which adds trickles of gold into the score bar. There are types that help you eliminate spheres too, like Explosion, which blows up an area of spheres (as the name suggests), and my personal favorite Color-explosion, which when matched, removes all same-colored spheres within the board.

Power-ups are obtained by activating a complete row of runes located at the bottom of the board. Runes are activated by making your usual sphere matches, and once all are lit up, a power-up will be distributed to a certain random sphere. All you have to do now is to make a match using that powered-up sphere. On later levels, you have be fast because power-ups will disappear if they aren’t used.

One thing I was really disappointed about is how repetitive the gameplay is, even when you’re already tackling five or more different-colored spheres. The addition of a decent back story or some mini-games to break up the action would have made the game seem more complete. If Mayplay Games is planning to make a sequel, I hope they focus on improving Rain Talisman‘s overall interest as well as adding a little bit of spice into the game. As it stands, the game has no lasting impact, which is a shame given that the gameplay takes such an innovative approach to gem-matching.

With that said, I would really like to applaud the creative gameplay of Rain Talisman. With a few minor tweaks, this game has potential to be very addictive and fun to play, and can be a great time-waster too, considering that you’ll get your money’s worth in terms of the game’s length. Overall visual presentation gets an average score; the gameplay is very smooth and I certainly believe that the relaxing ambient music suits the game’s theme pretty well.

Worth the try, but for now, here’s hoping for a more polished sequel.