A free-to-play Puzzle Quest-meets-Avatar game with a lot of staying power.

You, young student, have a lot of learning to do. Not only do you need to restore your master’s missing artifacts, you also have to master the elements themselves, all while battling foes who are certainly not out to make your day any brighter.¬†Elements Battle¬†pits you against an endless surge of enemies in a series of puzzle-based battles, challenging you to complete quests and gather items without kicking the virtual bucket.

Elements Battle puts you in the young shoes of the Chosen as you head out into the wilderness. Armed with a few items and a basic understanding of the elements, you’ll receive guidance from a sprite who shows you the ropes. For the most part, it’s all about working on quests, gathering items, managing an inventory, and fighting battles on a series of grid-based puzzle boards. You’ve got to be both fast and frugal to get anywhere in this game.

Elements Battle

It begins with the hunt. After receiving your first quest you’ll head out into the fields for a few fights. The pre-battle screen features sets of enemies displayed in a slot machine-style interface along with quests and extra goals up top. If the enemies you need to fight aren’t shown, simply insert a token and give the lever a pull to randomize them. As soon as the right foe appears, tap the button and let the gem swapping begin.

If you’ve played Bejeweled 3 or Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords you’ll feel right at home in Elements Battle‘s combat screen. Your character is on the left, the enemy on the right, and a field of gems fills the center. You have five or six seconds to make as many matches as you can, swapping colored gems and other pieces to make matches of three or more that can damage the enemy or fill your element tokens. Buy and charge a red token, for example, and after matching several red gems you’ll unleash a fire elemental blast. After your turn is up the enemy takes its turn, whittling down your hit points before handing the reins back to you. As soon as you run the foe’s HP down to zero you win, gaining items and marking the creature off on your list of conquests. Not bad for a lowly student!

Elements Battle is absolutely packed with menu screens and shop items to buy. There are elemental gems, armor, health items, battle damage items, books that grand timed powers like bonus experience points, and so much more. All of this is run by the game’s coin and diamond system that function as currencies gained from completing battles and gaining levels. You can refill both currencies using a few in-app purchase options, and in a rare move of generosity, developer Game Insight has made them almost completely non-intrusive. The amount of battling you’ll partake in will most likely provide plenty of currency to keep your character strong and alive.

Elements Battle

Once things get rolling in Elements Battle, they stay pretty much the same for the rest of the game. It’s a grind fest for sure, and you’ll fight with hundreds of foes just for a few pieces of gold, a small item necessary to complete a quest, or maybe just the experience. The occasional boss battle spices things up, but otherwise it’s just quests and your completionist tendencies that keep things moving forward.

Despite being a free to play affair, Elements Battle presents itself as a solid pick-up-and-play puzzle combat game with little interference from micro-transactions. The battles are short but intense, and gathering loot is always fun, especially when your efforts slowly build up to a greater payoff. If you can put aside the frequent offers to give you free diamonds for connecting your Facebook/Twitter accounts, Elements Battle will provide a lot of entertainment for an attractively low price tag.