Dungeon Gems is a blend of puzzle, action and strategy wrapped into a dungeon crawling adventure. Simple to learn but hard to master, the game features hundreds of unique hero cards to collect, upgrade, evolve and take to battles. Combined with the rock-paper-scissors relation between five elements, it offers a tactical and tense puzzle combat.
Earn and summon hundreds of unique hero cards of different rarity
Enhance and evolve your favorite rare cards to their full potential
Match runes, like-colored or differently-colored, tactically to unleash elemental power
Fight numerous battles against a slew of creatures and bosses
Use friends’ help in battle and in summoning uncommon cards
June 19, 2014
It is not unusual to see the combination of action and matching puzzle in a single game. Godzilla – Smash 3, Darkin and many titles out there are of the hybrid type. Dungeon Gems, a new mashup by Gameloft, also puts collectible cards mechanics into the mixture.
Without a real story, Dungeon Gems is a simple treasure hunt adventure in dungeons. It offers tons of levels in the solo campaign, each with multiple waves of enemies ready to fall intruders. Dungeon Gems is easy to learn. Its tutorial-like mellow start eases you into the gameplay. After you grasp the basic mechanics, the challenge presents itself and increases with progress.
Dungeon Gems has the standard split screen with two zones, battle and puzzle. In every level, you take a squad of five heroes to take on monsters coming in waves. While hundreds of unique hero cards are designed in the game, they are all categorized into five elements – Water, Fire and Wood locked in the classic rock-paper-scissors triangle while Sun and Moon against each other.
Correspondingly, the puzzle board is filled with runes of the five elements as well as an extra Heart rune for HP recovery. You match runes to let the same-elemental heroes to attack. The puzzle part is more of a free style rather than a typical matching game. While you can draw a path through like-colored runes to empower heroes of that element, you can also simply tap one rune or draw a line through multiple colors to initiate multi-element attack. Only that the differently-colored matching costs Action Points (AP) you earned by killing enemies.
Levels become more challenging because of the ever tougher monsters. Battle is turn-based but turns are not evenly split. A monster has its own turn count-down. When that number becomes zero, the monster will attack. Wolves, dragons, orcs, skeletons and so on – enemy types are rather generic but the variety of their attack style is a delight. Bosses, in particular, vary from one other in the attack. Scratch to drain your health, summon minions, and wrangle some of your runes to make them unmatchable – you can expect more the deeper you go.
The level and rarity of a card, the elemental counteract and a skillful rune-matching are the three factors that impact the power of an attack. Of them, the card per se is the most crucial. In some battles you can knock out enemies with only one hit launched by a super-rare hero even he is in the weak stance in the elemental relationship and he does not gain much extra power from runes. That makes the constant card enhancing or evolving an essential path to success and higher levels.
How can a game with CCG mechanics without card upgrading? Dungeon Gems rewards you coins, cards, tickets and friend points by completing a level. These items are all useful in getting powerful cards. Tickets and points allow you to summon new cards in two portals respectively, while coins are cost in great amount during enhancement and evolution. So unwanted cards are not only materials to craft better heroes, but can also be sold directly for coins.
It takes some grinding to earn rare cards. For super-rare heroes, they are exclusive on the Elite Portal and cost Diamonds, the premium currency, to summon. A free-to-play title, Dungeon Gems is born with the freemium deflects being pay-to-win and money-greedy. From extra coins that support card evolution to super-rare heroes to instant energy refill (yes, it costs energy to play a level), you can pay up to get the obvious advantages.
Dungeon Gems is solid with tons of levels that take you to the deeps of the dungeon. And it’s more fun when its levels become challenging. To beat the challenge, however, you have to grind by replaying to build stronger decks unless you pay up. Overall, it is an addictive game with potential but its freemium model weighs it down. [DOWNLOAD]
Watch the Dungeon Gems Gameplay Video – Sneak Peek of the Puzzle-Card-Combat