Despite my passion for and connections with Artix Entertainment (I’ve been a character in two of their MMO games now!) I’ll try to be as unbiased as possible–although I have to say that Battle Gems on the Apple App Market and Google Play Store is one of the best puzzle games that’s been made in a long time. I’m going to take things category by category and break this thing down! If you don’t know what Battle Gems is at all, I’m about to tell you, but here’s a link to their official website. You can download it for free on the Android Store or Apple App Market right now. The game uses an “energy” structure to limit battles per a time limit, with a $10 one time upgrade available for unlimited energy.
The basic gameplay is similar to other Match 3 styled things you may have seen, with the core distinction that this one has considerably more depth. The first thing to note is that while this is classified as a puzzle game, it ends up as more of a turned-based game than anything else. On your turn, you draw a line through as few as three matching gems to have your hero launch a spell, use potions to fight or aid themselves, attack with their weapon or tell their pet to fight for them. After your move, your opponent immediately retaliates, and the game continues with it your turn once more. Enemies will not attack until you do. This is a good thing. While I’m the type who loves a game that challenges me to move extremely quickly, I don’t mind one where things can slow down and allow thought to be involved.
When you clear blocks, they disappear and everything drops down a level, with new blocks spawning from above. You won’t know what those new blocks are, but there’s still room for planning ahead or setting up better combos with what you can see. It’s also a great strategy to save blocks of potions to restore your health when it gets low.
However, combat brings with it a certain level of randomness. You’ll learn many special skills and abilities as you play, but you have relatively limited control over what you’ll actually use when you line up blocks. It’ll come from the category of blocks broken of course (Pet, Potion, Magic and Attack) but will pick a skill at relative random. Certain abilities, such as those that restore health, will always be prioritized when your health is low–but it’s trickier to do things like, say, start off by applying a poison damage over time effect, find that your enemy is hitting too strong and reduce it’s attack, then buff your own attack and go in for the kill. I think one thing the game would benefit from would be if you could choose to disable certain skills and spells from being used in combat. Continue reading