Elementum is an upcoming puzzle game being released by indie developer One Thing Studios. I played the demo recently and really enjoyed its mechanics and can see it being a decent hit for the developers. The concept is simple but there's really a ton of room for potential. I'm looking forward to its full release soon and hope the full game is as good as the demo.
By the way, the demo works perfectly in Wine on Linux, so hopefully there aren't any incompatibilities introduced with the full game.
If I had to describe Elementum, I would call it a mix of Peggle, Bejeweled, and air hockey. You're basically presented with a bunch of balls (or particles) you need to destroy. To remove them from the board, you need to shoot a ball from the outer edge into the mix and group at least three of the same color together. If the shot ball comes in contact with another ball, they switch places: the shot ball is now at rest and the stationary ball is ricocheted off. With a normal shot, one ball goes in and one ball goes out. The ball heading out must now be caught though by the device that shoots balls in. It may sound a bit confusing but it is really very simple, check out the screenshot.
The outer circle is where we can move the launcher/catcher. Its movement just follows the mouse. When you're ready to fire, click and point at what ball you'd like to target and release. Try and follow the movement of the particles and anticipate which one will go flying out and catch it! It's just a great little interactive twist on a game that might feel too familiar otherwise.
Combined with shooting ricocheting balls, you can also shoot sticky particles that will not cause anything to bounce around. Now you can strategically set up chains or create bridges between same colored balls. The catch is that you have a limited counter of how many particles you can lose (by not catching them) and how many sticky particles you can shoot. In the screenshot above, we have two left.
Graphically, the game looks really nice, but I was really impressed by its soundtrack. The music seems like it was ripped right out of the tranquil puzzle solving world of Professor Layton! This is a great compliment in my book and will really help keep your mind on the task at hand. Elementum also has an "alchemy" story behind all the puzzles, though I'm not sure I really followed it! I think it's just an excuse to shoot balls and match colors, but hey, if you're into alchemy, maybe this game will be just what you're looking for (otherwise check Secret of Evermore or Odin Sphere).
The demo contains 12 levels and is a great introduction to the game, they hint at some really cool ideas like tubes that change your particle's color and barriers that only certain colors can pass through. I had to rack my brain a few times just in the demo so I'm anticipating a few brain matter melters in the full game. Check out the full game when it's released (hopefully this month!) from One Thing Studios. Support the independent developer!