28 11 2009

Released for: PC and Xbox Live

Some info:
1) Wiki
2) Official Site (English/Japanese)

A game produced and published by Square Enix and PopCap, it’s a puzzle game that’s more easily associated with the kind of games that PopCap have but with some RPG elements which I suppose is where Square Enix comes in for. However, the puzzle factor is the dominant one, since the main gameplay revolves around tile twisting and clearing gems in matches of 3 or higher.

Initially, I was a little apprehensive about the game, since I’m not exactly good at such games due to my incomplete ability in fully harnessing the recognition of tiles other than using mainly recognition by shapes. Good thing is that unlike most Bejeweled-like games, this puzzle game does not have time limit per move so you can really take your time to think and strategise (if needed). I felt that it is a pretty nice feature since there’s no need to “speed rush” your thought + recognition process.

However, after getting used to the nature of the game, I sort of felt that the game is a little too easy and favourable for the human player, especially towards the later parts of the game, where I was literally rushing through puzzles quite easily even though I’m supposedly slower at such games due to my “handicap”. Haha. It’s also partly due to me unlocking more Gyros, which will be your way of attacking in each puzzle. As with all RPGs, as you progress in the storyline and unlock more things (and level up), the skills/monsters that you possess will become more powerful, sometimes to the point where it makes battling a trivial process. =P Ok, but I suppose there was a need not to make it too difficult to play and complete, otherwise most people would be quitting the game soon enough which I think is a worse thing. =P

While it is easy to unlock all the Gyros and complete the game (story), there are some challenges which are quite a pain to complete, for example a 7-match gem (must be a single straight row) or cascade x7 (which is like 7 chain in puzzle fighter). It was really a little time consuming to set things up nicely so that I could complete these challenges. Apart from that, perhaps the next challenging thing would be finding the gyros that suit your play style more, of course after taking into account of how the abilities of each gyro perform. While there’s clearer stronger gyros (based on their abilities) but since you can only choose to bring 3 to any single map (except for Challenger’s Door), it’s really to choose the ones that suit your kind of play style. For example, I use Talos for almost everything, even if its element affinity is not favourable (ie you start with some debuffs).

Oh speaking of element affinity, each Gyro has some strengths and weaknesses against certain types of elements, which the game shows you quite clearly (and intuitively) with the use of the up (or down) arrow. Personally, I didn’t bother about it very much except at the beginning. But of course, the general approach is to have a diversified trio of gyro and try to avoid using handicapped gyros in battle unless you have no choice. But I still like using Talos. Hahahaha.

As with games which use Gil as the in-game currency, money isn’t really much of a problem. In fact there’s no problem at all, with some 200K to spare and each time u swap a Gyro it doesn’t cost much anyway. Haha. And oh, the level cap for the game is 70, which is quite sad cos I hit the limit even before I completed all the maps and it’s not like I went to “farm” enemies to power level. It’s good that I do not need to go “training mode” to level myself up, but perhaps it’s a little too smooth. =P

Oh well, I’ve almost fully completed everything in the game I suppose. Or at least those that can be easily seen without having to try various weird (read: non-obvious) things to see if there’s any easter eggs as some RPGs would hide (for example, if there’s anything special at chain level 6 and beyond). Sadly, there’s no FAQ on gameFAQs at the moment, and I’m kind of lazy to go test some of the ideas that I have at the moment, so I guess I should be stopping this game for a while until perhaps a later date. Currently I have 3 awards not yet achieved, which are all in the Challenger’s Door, namely: 1) win with 1% of beast’s max HP left 2) 7-match gem 3) combo x4 upon a single twist. Haha, to do this in a real battle requires more luck than skill in my opinion, so I’m temporarily leaving it as it is.

Overall, it’s a pretty short and small game that does not require a lot (be it time or brain power) to complete the basic stuff. It can be a little repetitive in the sense that it’s really puzzle after puzzle after puzzle for each encounter, but the fun is in unlocking new gyros and discovering new abilities that they have and finding the one that suits you best. =) If you like the kind of puzzle games that PopCap offers, this is a game that should not be missed. =D

p.s. thanks to WaiKit