Remember how awesome it was when you played Puzzle Quest for the first time? Then Square Enix noticed, and they decided to get in on the action with some help from the guys over at Popcap. I was both excited and curious to see what the two could do with a genre like Puzzle-RPG, would Popcap’s puzzle experience mix well with Square Enix’s ability to put androgynous men in highly revealing clothing? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Gyromancer is both an addicting puzzle game with a good story on level with most of Square Enix’s works.
The Story of Gyromancer is… well you know what, it doesn’t matter. If you are playing this game for the story, you’re doing it wrong. You play as the enchanter Rival, chasing down some guy using your army of beasts that you collect by finding their Gyrocodes scattered throughout the stages. It’s like Pokemon Puzzle League only… with women that have large “pokeballs.” Each stage is set up like a board game, you move freely from spot to spot until you encounter an obstacle. Each obstacle has its own action – treasures give you items, codes let you unlock new creatures to battle with, and certain spots unlock new paths to take on the map. When you run into an enemy beast you enter the real game: the puzzle battles.
The puzzles, early game, go from being almost too easy to being frustratingly hard to being too easy again. Basically you battle the enemy beasts by playing bejeweled. The trick being you can only rotate a square of four gems clockwise, the objective being to make columns/rows of three or more. When your monster’s attack gauge fills, certain crystals on the screen will glow causing an attack against the enemy. As you play- the enemy will send his own gems on to the board and if you don’t remove them in a certain amount of moves they go off and damage your creature. As easy as this sounds, it gets frustratingly hard early game when some monsters send out four or five gems at a time and only give you enough time to remove one or two. As you play though, you begin to notice the little tricks that let you break most, if not all, of those gems quickly and effectively. Then the game almost becomes too easy; I found three monsters that more or less carried me through the beginning levels of the game allowing me to accumulate enough money that I could change monsters whenever I needed to without having to worry about cash.
Gyromancer is fun though, despite the weird difficulty curve but playing against human opponents can be more entertaining. Here’s the skinny: it’s defiantly not as great as Puzzle Quest, but it’s defiantly better than the oft forgotten Puzzle Kingdom. So it was defiantly worth the 800 MS Points I paid for it. At least check out the demo. But it will be interesting to see where Square Enix and Popcap take this new franchise in the future.
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