Battle Gems Review

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.

Gameplay (10/10):
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.

Graphics (10/10):
One of the first things that stands out about Battle Gems is the graphics. It’s chibi style, which doesn’t scream “epic” but it does lend itself to the humor of the game! The chibi anime style of the graphics also allows for expressiveness and the animations during combat to look outstanding. One of the great things about the gameplay boiling down to being turned-based is that you can watch your attacks and the enemy when they actually make their action–and it’s worth taking the time to glance off of the game board to see the art! Countless magic spells (I find the wind ones to be some of the most impressive) and really… creative special attacks. Some of your skills with your weapon are a tad unorthodox and involve doing things like flailing crazily at your foe while jumping into the air. Once you get past the silliness, it ends up matching the game well again and adding to the overall experience.

On further note of the animations, pet ability animations are not specific for each pet. That is to say, you can see Twilly the healing Moglin blasting enemies with dark magic after performing a death-from-above strike styled strike. It’s extremely rewarding as the game has many pets and characters from other AE games, such as the Moglin Twilly and the undead fighting Pomeranian Daimyo. There’s even a Flappy Bird spoof pet, so if you’ve ever wondered what it would look like if Flappy Bird could shoot fireballs to blast those pillars down, now you can see.


When did you lean to breath fire, Twilly?! That would have helped me in Nerdvana!

Weapons, armors, pets, helms and capes are all done in the usual “modern” style of Artix Entertainment. They’ve come a long way over the years at making cool anime equipment, and they show it off in Battle Gems. You’ll find many weapons from past AE games (Blade of Awe, Dragonblade, Blade of Doom, Cysero’s Hammer ect.) in addition to plenty of new ones.

Sound/Music (8/10):
The music that is present in Battle Gems is incredibly catchy and will get stuck in your head for days. Unfortunately, there’s not very many songs in the game. They’re good though, and fit the game well.

Sound effects are smooth and help make up for the lack of musical variety. Most of your attacks and spells have different sounds to them, and the ever-present noise of activating your gems remains satisfying and doesn’t get old.

Still, despite the music and sound being enjoyable enough, you may find yourself loading up a playlist to slay to if you’re playing a longer sitting of the game.

Story/Characters (10/10):
There is, surprisingly, a lot of story in Battle Gems–much more than you’d expect from a casual puzzle game which your hero actually remarks early on. Every zone has it’s own plot, with the overarching goal to ascend Mount Death Dream Doom Skull at the end of the huge map and become the “Battle King” (I for one am in favor of quests the end in the crowning of a king).


I love 4th wall breaking humor!

The humor in the game in phenomenal, and the characters you meet take the narrative to the next level. Nearly everything in the game is a reference, from quest names to NPC’s the many lines of dialog. There’s so many and some of them are so obscure that no one person can likely catch them all, and it keeps you wanting to progress to see what the next one will be.

Artix Entertainment has once again delivered in one of the areas they most excel at–creating a funny atmosphere for epic gameplay. AE/10.

Game Length/Replayability (10/10):
I’ve been playing Battle Gems for countless hours, and I’ve only completed about 160 of the more than 450 quests. This is a long game we’re talking about here! While standards for game length have perhaps become shorter and shorter over time, this is *not* the 3 hour tops you expect from most apps you download. Length wise, this is comparable to buying a game on any other portable handheld system–and this one can be played FREE! You can expect to be playing for quite awhile!

Under the Powers selection menu, at the very bottom, a “Hard Mode” is available which doubles the health and damage dealt by all enemies. I assume this is awarded upon completion of the game. I’m not sure how much double actually ends up being after completing 450 quests and returning to quest 1 (right now, I can one-shot any enemy in the first handful of quests), but for later quests it will certainly allow for replayability. The game is a lot of fun and very addicting, and I’m glad that a Hard Mode is available.

The game isn’t very hard. I don’t personally believe that difficulty is required for Screenshot_2014-05-01-16-35-27something to be a great game, but it’s still worth noting. There’s plenty of ways to make the game harder on yourself, though (and afterall, that’s not a new concept to video games–low-level runs of RPG’s or trying to complete Zelda wearing the Iron Boots and the like have been enjoyed by more hardcore gamers for years). Much of your own power is determined from buying items with gold you collect. The more items you own, the more power you have, regardless of what you equip! If you buy less (or no) items, the game is significantly harder. You miss out on collecting all the great art, but I’ve been enjoying playing the game on a harder level.  Not all games have to be hard, though. It’s fun to enjoy something less hardcore from time to time, so if you buy items when you have the gold for it expect an easy and fun adventure. If you’re looking for Dark Souls in puzzle form, you’ll be disappointed. But if you want an enjoyable video game that doesn’t up your blood pressure too much, Battle Gems fits the bill.

All and all, I think that Battle Gems is a great game. It’s certainly worth the free download! There’s also a purchasable upgrade for $10 that gives you unlimited energy for playing quests–for the immense amount of content that the game offers, this price is a steal. Again, there’s games on the DS and PSP with less gameplay going on that cost four times as much.

I highly recommend checking this game out and giving it a try! Battle on!

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