GemHero is a mashup of match-3 puzzle, action RPG and card mechanics wrapped in cool cartoony artwork. Swap same-colored tiles to unleash the magical attack and collect & upgrade hero cards to boost the battle.
A solid puzzle RPG in a fantasy world
Cool artwork with certain charm
Two play modes for different experiences
Collectible card system
July 14, 2014
What does the title of ‘GemHero’ strike you? If it is matching gems to let heroes fight, bingo! GemHero is a simple sum-up of what it is.
The foundation of GemHero is still the three-a-line puzzler that asks players to swap adjacent gem tiles to make matches of three or more same-color. By that, heroes of the corresponding elements will launch varying normal attack and special skills upon enemies.
On the board are different color-coded gem tiles representing healing power, normal attack and element-based skill assault like stone blades, frost arrows and own heals. The usual rock-paper-scissor relationship is not implemented into the gameplay. It is more of a speed challenge than strategy test. Being fast fills up a fever gauge which once activated leads into a seemingly random clicking craze for combos. And battle in GemHero is not based on turns. As players make quick matches to attack, the enemies also fight back in real time.
RPG & CCG
Both the RPG and Card elements in GemHero are from and closely related to the hero characters that fight in the battle.
In each mission players can pick up to three heroes in the form of cards to make a battle squad. Cards of different rarity level vary in health, attack, cost, special abilities and leader skill. Players cannot simply select the three most powerful cards to the squad but have to make sure the total costs of chosen cards is equal to or less than the group capacity.
Cards can be enhanced to level up by the established way – to sacrifice the unwanted low-level/rarity heroes to boost the favorite ones at a cost. Cards can be earned as defeated monsters in the battle or purchased using premium Stars or coins.
One special feature that draws attention is the non-linear map, which adds extra depth for the RPG mechanics. In a mission players will lead their squad into a map with multiple paths filled with battle/boss dots and also some luck-based outposts including HP refill, Mage/Warrior healing point, treasure chests and traps. So a different turn in a crossroads may lead to hazards or rewards. And based on the selected difficulty level of a mission, a map varies in its size and accessible paths.
A fun title though it is, GemHero needs further tweaks to offer a more satisfactory experience. It requires network connection to play and a ‘winnerconnect’ or Facebook account to log in, which makes it one big step behind to be a real game on the go. While boosters are a mainstay, it lacks necessary info about these items in the game. Tapping on them simply leads to blind use and usually a waste. Not only in power-ups, mechanics in the core match-3 puzzle game is also obscure. Intended to be helpful, the starting tutorial is actually useless.
The artwork and battle animation in GemHero is cool; its mission campaign is solid and diverse; and the sound effects make every puzzle battle more enjoyable. But there is also ‘but’ when it comes to its generic trio-blend and many issues to iron out. Overall, it is good to be a time-waster and just another puzzle RPG out there at once. [App Link]