Ever since the release of Bejeweled in 2001, match-3 games have really been starting to show their age. Flash game developers have been hard pressed to find a new way to revolutionize the genre without doing something that has been done before. Mochi Media's first-inhouse game takes a very unique turn-based battle approach in an attempt to breathe new life into this exhausted concept. Does it work? Here's the scoop!
The first major discovery you'll make in the world of Biogems will be the spectacular, cartoon-style artwork. The game simply sparkles with intensity. Mochi's Dominique Ferland has seriously brought on his radical artistic flair with this one. All the menus, characters and gems have been polished to perfection. Everything looks like they popped straight out of a comic, and that's a good thing! It really meshes with the goofy and quirky astro-creature conflict without taking anything away from the addictive gameplay. The stellar sound effects and pumped up soundtrack also add a incredible dimension to the Biogems experience.
When you finally begin playing, you'll get to choose your anthropomorphic space pet avatar, and then breeze past the hazy and generally unimportant plot to your first duel. Almost everyone knows how these kinds of games work: you swap any gem with an adjacent gem to create a line of three or more matching gems. This blows up the matching gems and summons new gems from the top of the screen to fill the empty spaces on the grid. But the twist lies in how every gem colour have diverse effects in battle, such as unleashing a special attack or filling your rage meter. It is worth mentioning that matching four or five gems awards you with an extra turn. This battle match-3 method works surprising smoothly, although the AI does follow a predictable pattern. Eventually, defensive matching becomes a much more effective strategy towards the end of the game. This essentially sucks out the fun of pummelling your enemy to a pulp since gameplay will suddenly be based on patience. Knowing when to attack and defend is crucial, although victory often depends on a great deal of luck.
Since you share the same board with your opponents, your options will become very limited, especially when you encounter stronger opponents that hit hard and gain increased bonuses. However, there are many ways to turn the tides in your favour, such as swiping all the energy gems when your opponent can no longer attack or swapping defense and counterattack gems on the same turn. The ability to skip a turn would have been nice, but rarely do you need to wait for the 20 second move timer to expire before realizing that you can line up another explosive combo. While some casual gamers may find Biogems to be too difficult, you can obtain rubies to upgrade your character after every fight. Matching shiny gems during a match allows you to collect more rubies to spend at the upgrade shop before your engaging in your next battle. Even though the game gets kind of unexciting after a few hours, Biogems is an innovative and fresh take on a popular genre.
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