The tags for this game reads “original” and “match-3.” No, I’m not on anything, this really is an original match-3. After having played this, I realized that the two are not mutually exclusive; it is possible to make a match-3 (or more) game that doesn’t involve ever changing containers for the shapes, and gimmicky ideas like having different symbols for every level. You can make a match-3 with new ideas that makes it worth playing from the beginning to the end.

Plumeboom involves a little bird who destroys colored potions that turns innocent birds into evil bird soldiers. Potions arrive by conveyors, and your job is to shoot potions to swap with the ones in the conveyors. When you match 3 or more same-colored potions, they are destroyed. As you play, conveyors will keep moving forward, bringing more potions into play. Once a color has been eliminated, it stays out of the game. It’s very simple to learn, but can be very strategic as you “swap” potions instead of getting random ones all the time.

Complicating this system is an elaborate list of power-ups and obstacles. After each mission, you can buy power-ups with “coins” you gained during the mission. These are represented by potions, and once they are available you can spend as much coin on it as you like, bringing them up in levels. These appear randomly in play; when you match potions with these “powered-up” potions, they destroy lines/X’s/cause random detonations, etc – and they are very satisflying.

There are three different kinds of obstacles. The Black Jug will not disappear and cannot be matched, and must be eliminated by destroying all the jugs in front of it. The spider on occasion spins a web that you cannot shoot jugs into, and they’re vertical lines right through your game field. Containers of three sometimes appear and you must match the three potions inside of it to destroy it since it cannot match the outside potions. As all this happens, the conveyors move ever so closely forward, and when it hits the right side of the screen, you lose a life.

A very cute invention is the “dress match bonus” system. Your little bird character can wear clothes to suit the climate of the map, and you decide this in the bonus lab. For example, for a fiery hot climate you’d wear nothing but a fireman’s hat, and for a snow storm you’d have a scarf, winter boots, and a warm hat. The only problem with this that is that you’re never shown what’s the coming weather is like, and you either have to go by what you remember of the world map or wait until you’ve finished the first mission of the region. It’s a cute way to add an extra layer of gameplay, regardless.

Plumeboom: The First Chapter utilizes hardware particle effects, and they’re quite impressive. The characters seem to be pre-rendered 3D, and they are exceedingly cute – even the enemies. Music is catchy and the sound effects, especially the explosions, adds much to the gameplay.

For originality in a stale genre, Plumeboom is definitely a series I’ll keep my eye on. Worth the buy!