Release date: 2014 / 2015 on Xbox One
Version played: Xbox One in 2018
Developed by Infinity Plus 2 and published by 505 Games Mobile, Gems of War is a puzzle/RPG/Strategy mash-up, available for free on mobile and console. Players can assemble a team before each puzzle, and by accumulating a certain number of each coloured tile, each character can execute a special attack to damage the other team. From there, it is a matter of ‘last team standing’, throughout hundreds of small story campaigns across dozens of kingdoms, each increasing in difficulty.
+ although none of the individual components are unique, the combination of the gem sliding, character skills and defeating enemies make for a surprisingly deep system. Deciding which attacks work best and when to use them can be the difference between a close win and a devastating loss
+ it’s a very easy time sink. I thought I had only been laying for about half an hour, but it was on the other side of 90 minutes
+ all of the colored tiles have a picture on them, so even I with my colorblindness never missed a move
– despite being playable on consoles, this is obviously still intended to be a mobile-style game, with short bursts favorable over a marathon session. After the hour or so I played, completing the first kingdom and unlocking dozens of new characters/abilities, I felt like I had done it all
– the game is loaded with micro-transactions, which by itself is not necessarily a bad thing, especially not for a free-to-play mobile game. The negative comes from how frequently you’ll be thrown to a screen imploring you to purchase a booster pack of some kind, with the default menu option highlighting ‘yes’. It’s just a shady tactic
Should you play this game: As far as free games go, there is a lot on offer here. However, after playing for an hour or so I took a break, and never actually got around to playing again. I’ve told myself I will go back and get into it properly, but I know I won’t, and this will forever be a ‘play for five minutes every few weeks’ game.