Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gemibears [Piston Games] - $0.99/$1.99

Matching games have grown quite a bit, and gained a pretty solid following on the iOS. Playrix title, Call of Atlantis, was my first real iOS matching experience, and since then, I’ve been hooked. But as with all genres, with massive amounts of titles comes massive amounts of cloning, and repetitiveness, so it’s always nice to see something with new mechanics added to the lineup. Moscow based Piston Game’s most recent addition to the AppStore, Gemibears, happens to be a Match-2 title, with some interesting gameplay mechanics and modes to keep it fresh, and help it stand out in the crowd. 

When you first start up Gemibears, you’re only given the option to play Story Mode. But as you progress through the game, you’ll be able to unlock Action, Tactic and Classic Modes, all giving you different takes on the Match-2 play. As you can imagine, the goal is to match as many bears as you can by moving them around the board. You’ll always have one space open to move a bear or selection of bears to. You do not need to make a match in order to move, which does help if you’d like to plan moves out, or are stuck, and need to a piece across the play-field. Being able to move entire rows of bears also helps to make multiple matches at once, so there’s plenty of luck tied in with the strategy, as most Matching Games tend to use.
What makes Gemibears interesting is the mechanics that the game includes into the gameplay as you make your way through the first world. There are some bears which will fall asleep, making them impossible to move until you match one of their sides with another bear. There’s also a zipper at the bottom of the play-field which is your time meter, and once it runs down, it’s game over. But you’ll have bears which have clocks on them, and add to the time. This isn’t anything new within the genre, but the way that they’re utilized keeps the game interesting. 

Story Mode includes more than 60 levels to make your way through, all split up into different worlds. As you complete the worlds, the other gameplay modes are unlocked. Action Mode gives you a certain amount of time to get as many points as you can, also utilizing the bears with clocks, so you could potentially wind up with a huge score if you’re quick to act. Tactic Mode is the most strategic mode, and is reminiscent of Monster Flip’s Puzzle Mode. You’re given 3 turns to make a match or you’ll loose a life, with each match refilling your turns. Lives are regenerated once you score enough points, and you need to get the best score you can before all your lives are gone. Classic Mode is your typical relaxed gameplay mode. There’s no time limit, and you’re able to make moves until sleeping bears make it so that you have no more moves left. 

There are extras which you can find in the main menu as well, like the Gemipedia, which collects information on all the bears you’ll come across in the game, Wallpapers and local scores. The graphics, animations, controls, music, and effects all fit together nicely to give gamers a very polished game. If you’re a fan of the genre, Gemibears will be a great addition to your device, and with the Tactical and Action modes, which is probably where you’ll spend the most time, there’s endless challenging reparability. The developers have stated that more planets for Story Mode, as well as more bears, and more bonuses will be added in future updates. Also helping to add to the replay value is GameCenter integration with boards for Classic, Action, and Tactic Modes. Unfortunately, there’s no achievements, so if you’re not a score-chasing fanatic, the GC support will be kind of lost on you. But for $0.99 for the iPhone version, and $1.99 for the HD build, it’s definitely worth checking out, it might just wind up turning into one of your favorite match-games. 


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