A day late and a dollar short. Too little, too late. Late to the party. Someone left the cake out in the rain. Whatever idiom you choose, it applies to Gems 3D from Max Fomitchev (aka Ultramax). This is another ‘match 3′ game that tries to provide a fresh take; the need for each gem to have a clear path (like a maze) to the spot you want it to go. Beyond that, it’s match the like gems so they disappear, you score some points, more gems randomly drop in, rinse and repeat. The sole ‘powerup’ is called a trick which allows you to turn any gem wild as long as it forms a match. One nice feature is you can also form matches on a diagonal. The game provides some unusual music which was composed by the author; a mix of classical and techno.
To its credit, the game provides more than the usual amount of options. You can play on a 5×5 or 9×9 grid. You can set the minimum match to be 3-6 gems. You can have 1-5 gems added per drop. You can have 3-9 different gem types. There’s a target reticle to help with gem placement. Then there’s the more mundane such as disabling sound and the background graphic. Finally there’s a German and Russian language localization. Pretty impressive collection of options for a match 3 game eh?
The problem, as alluded to at the onset, is the game simply doesn’t compete well with the best match 3 games in the app store (even if it predates half of them in its original version) and so grows boring rather quickly. The graphics are nice enough but there’s very little animation and the SFX are only passable. Note the emphatic ‘3D’ in the title is quite misleading. This is a port and while the PC and MAC versions feature a tilted gameboard that looks 3D, the iPhone’s is just a flat 2D grid.
One gripe is that the game’s menu is a live bar across the bottom of the screen so as you can imagine I was constantly hitting buttons inadvertently while playing. Another is that any setting change you make restarts your game, even something silly like turning off the background graphic. Oddly, a horizontal swipe or phone shake also resets your game, so be careful.
Inexplicably, this game simply will not come up in the app store using the standard search; as of this review the only way to pull it up is via direct app store linkage. That explains the fudged price image at the top. Could also be why this game has no posted reviews since its release date 11/7/08.
If you’ve never played a match 3 game before, Gems 3D is not a bad place to get started but honestly the asking price is high IMO; the competition in the app store certainly supports that opinion. If you’re like me and you’ve played gobs of match 3 games, I cannot tell a lie; you won’t find much staying power here. Nevertheless, a couple promo codes are available in the comments section if you want to check it out so please make sure you post which one you’ve claimed.
Version reviewed – 1.0
Reviewed on – iPhone 3G 8GB 2.2.1
Global scoreboard – no
iTunes music support – yes
Lite version – no