A puzzle-RPG mash-up, it basically performs exactly like it says on the tin. Ultimately, the game multitasks too much to let you enjoy any one element to its fullest.
Maybe I'm just someone who likes to focus upon one goal to the exclusion of all else too much to get the most of the game, but a major stumbling block for enjoying the game is that, in order to clear the puzzle segmentsA puzzle-RPG mash-up, it basically performs exactly like it says on the tin. Ultimately, the game multitasks too much to let you enjoy any one element to its fullest.
Maybe I'm just someone who likes to focus upon one goal to the exclusion of all else too much to get the most of the game, but a major stumbling block for enjoying the game is that, in order to clear the puzzle segments that give you the power to do anything in the RPG segment of the game, you have to minimize the combat, and focus upon finding those color matches. Since you need at least four gems cleared to do anything, there's a heavy emphasis on getting four-gem combos and passing on three-gem combos until you can get a better match.
This presents a real problem in the RPG section of the game, as you will often find yourself surprised to learn you're suddenly at half health and poisoned and without the dodge bar full and about to get eaten, only to flick back and mash a bunch of attacks out to wipe the floor with the enemies.
Basically, the RPG and Puzzle elements of the game seem like they are at war with one another, rather than a cohesive whole. To get the award for doing a mission well, you have to both get a good time and a good score. Unlike normal puzzle games, this means you aren't trying to get great combos or huge chains going. In fact, the game kind of punishes you for doing well in the puzzle section by largely wasting what you get. Instead, you're just doing puzzles to go back to the RPG section and throw more fireballs.
There are also some "hard" fights (especially the optional ones) that generally require some grinding to be able to stand a chance against, and can even sometimes just outright one hit kill your character. I'm an RPG veteran, but even I feel that it's sometimes cheap to just deny players the chance to use the mechanics in front of them to their fullest effect just because you don't have enough DEF+ attributes assigned. Winning these fights requires either grinding, getting lucky chains while button-mashing, or playing with your eye almost entirely upon the RPG section, rather than the puzzle section, avoiding clearing gems until you actually need them. It's a frustrating experience to feel like the game is hamstringing you from enjoying what is really the main mechanic of the game. The sentiment of the game seems to be that if you enjoy busting gems for their own sake, you might as well go back to playing Yoshi's Cookie or Bejewelled.
What the game really needs is to have a way to let focusing upon the puzzle part not punish the player for not paying attention to the RPG parts. Puzzle Pirates does a much better job of making the personal puzzle elements not conflict with the overall effort of the crew. Making the game have a minute of puzzle time followed by a "turn" of the RPG, where the other element of the game is paused while you focus on the part you are playing.
With that said, this is far from a bad game. It's definitely a "light" RPG that seems more focused upon the puzzle crowd than the hardcore RPG crowd, so it may be worth letting those casual gamers you know have a try at the game. The puzzle game is simple and easy to pick up, and so is the RPG element, that largely consists of just clicking an enemy, and clicking your summon creature to throw attacks out. However, I'm not entirely sure casual gamers will be able to handle the sort of multitasking that annoyed even a more hardcore gamer.… Expand