During a typical timed round, the player must align three or more of the same colored gemstone in order to build up "power" for various totems of that color. For instance, destroying orange gems will activate the Orange Totem, which allows the player to stop the clock temporarily, while destroying red gems allows the Red Totem to destroy random gems on the screen with fireballs. Embedded within certain gems are bright crystals--the player must destroy a set amount of these crystals in order to progress to the next stage. The number of crystals needed to clear a stage increases by increments of five for each level, maxing out at 200.
Unlike in other similar puzzle games such as Bejeweled
, the player is able to keep an active combo after a chain of gems subsides if the player quickly creates another chain. This allows for the possibilities of somewhat endless chains, thus making the game much more active than many similar puzzle games. To accommodate this, a pillar of sand at the bottom of the screen keeps track of the player's combo progress, and once activated, the player is able to earn multipliers to his or her score, as well as increased "upgrade stars."
After each round, the player is able to upgrade his her abilities and power-ups using upgrade stars. These range from increased effectiveness of Totem statues (the Orange Totem can be upgraded several times, for instance, adding five additional seconds of paused time to each upgrade) to various power-ups, such as dynamite and wild-card gems. However, the player is not given free range for which to spend these upgrade stars, as each power-up, as well as their various upgrades, are unlocked in a specific order based on the completed level, forcing the player to upgrade what the game chooses to upgrade.
The game was released in the App Store for the iPhone
on January 18th, 2007, and was also made available as a downloadable title on the PC
. A criticism for the iPhone version is the game's inconsistency in reading touch-based commands, occasionally moving the incorrect gemstones.
A Nintendo DS
version of the game was released in october 2009 in Europe. A North American release is unconfirmed.