4 Elements is a Puzzle Game by Playrix that combines elements of Hidden Object Game, Match-Three Game, and spot the difference genres released in 2008. A sequel called 4 Elements II was released in 2011.
Somewhere far away, there is a beautiful land, which has been prospering for a while. One day the idyllic lifestyle has ended, as the elements became more hostile and turned the land inhospitable. The wise mage explains it's all because the magic altars have been destroyed, and now it's up to you to save this fairytale landscape, with a fairy guiding you along the way.
Each book corresponds to an element: earth, fire, air, and water. The first level of each book has you find pieces of four items that are scattered around the room, which reveal the key to the book once complete. After that, the game alternates between four connect-three levels where you have to destroy tiles to drive energy to the altar before time runs out, then a spot the differences level where you search for differences between a true and altered magic card. Once it's done four times, you move on to the next book and repeat the process.
This game provides examples of:
- All That Glitters: The wise earth dragon guards a treasure in its cave. However, the gleam of the vast riches from the treasure is meant to be misleading, as the real treasure is not of wealth but of knowledge and wisdom.
- Arc Number: Four. Four elements, four books, four sections in each book, four keys, four items in each hidden object stage, four power-ups, four normal piece colors in one level, four match-three levels per section.
- Chekhov's Gun: The flint and steel in the fire book hidden object puzzle. It's easy to collect and the first on the list, plus the previous puzzle used items one after the other, but it doesn't seem work with the three visible things at first. That's because you first need to collect the egg, the dagger, and the magic crystal, and only at the end is it actually used.
- Color-Coded Elements: Earth is green, fire is red, air is light blue, water is dark blue.
- Cool Key: Every key that unlocks a book has the elemental symbol and is made of gold.
- Fairy Companion: You have a fairy that guides you through the tutorial (and optionally later parts of the game) and can give hints in the hidden object levels if needed.
- Fairy Sexy: The fairy in the air book, who has red hair and is reasonably shapely. For some reason, one of the differences that you have to find is that the fake version has less noticeable cleavage.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The fairy will refer to you with the name you used for the savefile.
- Hint System: A hint button is available in hidden object and spot the difference levels. Once it's ready, clicking it makes the fairy point where an item piece can be found or where the difference is.
- Lethal Lava Land: The fire book levels are more volcano-like and the energy that is transported to the altar resembles lava.
- Level Goal: Every connect 3 level has you guide the energy to the altar of magic.
- Level-Map Display: You can click on a button in the bottom-left corner to show a simplified map of the level.
- Our Elves Are Different: According to the fire book, the elves are the most ancient servants of fire and skilled at many crafts.
- Power-Up: There are four power-ups available: spade (green), bomb (red), swap (light blue), and shuffle (dark blue). Each one can be used after you destroyed enough tiles that correspond to it.
- Ratchet Scrolling: The level scrolls as tiles are broken and energy fills through the empty parts, but it only goes in the direction of the arrow with no manual way to backtrack.
- Score Screen: After each level, you're shown score from leftover time, number of matches made, tiles filled, level score, and total score.
- Timed Mission: Every connect 3 level has a time limit, indicated by a how much green liquid is left in a gauge to the right.