Visually attractive with more sophisticated gameplay than the original, Glyph 2 is a fantastic sequel that offers 255 new match-three levels to explore as you seek to unlock the mysterious glyphs and put a stop to the darkness that’s spreading across Kuros.

Like the original, the goal in each level is to click on groups of three or more like-colored stones to clear them from the board. Doing so digs down a layer of "strata" to eventually reveal the glyph buried underneath. Uncover the entire glyph without your timer running out to beat the level.

Eventually familiar obstacles will appear, like stones that can’t be removed simply by matching, broken stones that aren’t strong enough to dig strata, inferno stones that gradually spread across the board, and shadow stones that engulf any stone you attempt to match it to and can be destroyed by light stones, which appear randomly on the board.

The 14 Artifacts from Glyph have been replaced by seven Gestures, which serve the same purpose of acting as power-ups but are activated a little differently: When you have built up a certain amount of energy by making matches, you can unleash a Gesture by tracing its shape with your mouse. To cast a Row Gesture, for example, you must drag the mouse horizontally across the screen and then click on the row of tiles you wish to destroy.

Other Gestures include Paint that turns all stones on the board a single color, a Sort Gesture that groups stones by color, and a destructive Spike tile that destroys stones and digs a level of strata.

When the darkness spread across Kuros, it also crumbled all of the monuments to each of the five elements: wood, fire, water, metal and aether. In between puzzle-solving levels, you’ll use the energy you’ve earned to rebuild these monuments one at a time as you visit each zone in turn. Each monument grants you some kind of bonus, like the Circle of Stone, which causes inferno stones to spread at a slower rate, or the Wheel of Time, which slows the timer, so there’s strategy involved in deciding which monuments to build and upgrade using your limited supply of energy.

You’ll also play a mini-game every five levels called the Altar of Creation, where symbols scroll down the slot machine-like altar and you have to trace them with your mouse before they scroll out of view. (This replaces the Simon Says mini-game from Glyph.)

Finally, the puzzle-solving levels themselves have optional mini-tasks to complete as a way to earn bonus energy. Examples of mini-tasks include matching 50 blue stones in 1 minute, casting three Level 2 Gestures, and making a match of 30 stones or more.

While second game modes are often throwaway in nature, Glyph 2‘s Action mode is pretty sophisticated in its own right, with 125 levels where the goal is to clear lines of tiles as new tiles are constantly being pushed up from the bottom or falling from the top, complete with numerous power-ups and special stones. For both modes, you can record your high score and compare it to other players around the world.

Glyph 2 boasts superb audio and visuals; as players advance they’ll be rewarded with exciting flashes of light, rich and colorful levels and visual effects, and sound effects that give energetic feedback for every match made.

With production polish combined with the new gameplay features, Glyph 2 is an improvement over the original in every way except one: levels still take too long to get truly challenging, except for the final aether zone where difficulty ramps up noticeably. Perhaps there’s good reason for this though, since if you lose all your lives in Quest mode it’s really and truly Game Over.