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Gyromancer Review

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Developer: PopCap Games Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: November 18, 2009 Available On: PC and Xbox 360

Do you like Bejeweled? Do you like Pokemon? Do you like RPGs too? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to bring the three together? Well look no further. PopCap Games and Square-Enix have come together to bring you an experience not unlike several others. Enter Gyromancer, a puzzle RPG that melds fantasy and puzzle. It has conquest, intrigue, magic, monsters, and bosomy female characters. Is this the puzzle RPG you have been dreaming of all your life? Definitely not but it is not devoid of all entertainment.

Let me begin with Gyromancer’s story. It is lame. The story is told through a text dialogue that flows in one direction during rather bland and flat cut scenes. Imagine an entire story taking place within one frame of a comic strip. Brilliant for Garfield, but Gyromancer has plenty of dialogue to bore you with and none of it is witty although sometimes it is unintentionally funny. I will not spoil the story, but the game takes place all inside a forest and it is none enchanting. I’m sorry but there is nothing here you have not heard before.

There is nothing about the presentation of Gyromancer that will send your imagination amok. The story is fleshed out through text based dialogue, which itself is nothing to write home about. All of the set pieces, characters, and backgrounds are two dimensional. The characters and monsters are all hand drawn and while I appreciate the skill and artistry involved in creating the artwork, the way they are used makes for an uninteresting presentation. If the artwork were not so poorly cropped and layered behind other elements, Gyromancer would probably be a more interesting looking game. Other game elements are a little lame. Spells do not shock and awe. The dungeons and the overland map do little to add to the fantasy. The audio is not terrible and certainly will not pull any of your emotional strings. Spells sound the way they look, puny. As I recall, the monsters are pretty quiet, even when they’re getting beaten down.

Thankfully, the meat and potatoes of Gyromancer are found in the puzzle battles. If you have ever played Bejewelled, Gyromancer is pretty much the same thing, but with monsters. Actually, Gyromancer is Bejeweled Twist with a dash of Pokemon and a lame story. You twist 4 gems clockwise to match 3 or more gems of the same kind in a row with the intent of clearing gems from the board. Clearing gems is called making a set. Making a set will fill a number of gauges which when full will charge spells onto gems. At your disposal are a number of monsters, but not many like in Pokemon, which you collect while crawling through dungeons. Each monster has an affinity color, and as you may have guessed, making sets of your affinity color will fill your spell gauges much faster. To deal damage to your opponent you must clear a charged spell in a set. Gyromancer is a fairly simple game that may suck you in. The puzzle combat is fun and I was addicted to it for one fortnight.

There are a few issues I have with this game. None of them ruined my experience but without them, I could have been hooked forever. The RPG elements are pretty watered down. Your beasts level up automatically, that is their strength and health increase without any consideration on your behalf. That is not a major complaint except you don’t have that many monsters to your disposal, 19 total but only 3 at your immediate disposal, you can never have more than 3 monsters with you. You can only exchange monsters, at the Summoner’s Den, and they cost gil even if you previously had them in your party. I suppose this helps you “plan” your party before you go into battle, but since you do not have a say in your monster’s skills and abilities, what is the point?

Gyromancer also features items for use in battle such as healing potions etc., which feel almost like an afterthought. The items are tied to a menu, putting them out of sight and out of mind. Not that it matters since they are so few and you can pretty much do without them. Lastly, different gem sets have various effects on your monster. You can see which gems affect your monster positively or negatively in the Summoner’s Den but you do not have this information at your disposal when in battle. One more thing, there are a few challenges to be conquered. They start off easy but get pretty darn hard later. I gave up on them which meant giving up on the niceties they offered.

With all said and done, Gyromancer is alright. It will not redefine puzzle RPG games but perhaps it is a good start, for Square-Enix at least. The RPG elements in Gyromancer are terribly watered down. The fantasy is generic at best. The true meat and potatoes of Gyromancer lie in the Bejeweled Twist game play. I must give props for PopCap Games for having created a puzzle game that is fun again and again no matter what the coat of color. If Bejeweled is your thing, you will probably get plenty of mileage out of Gyromancer. Just, please, do not get your hopes up. Gyromancer is available on Xbox Live for 1200 Microsoft points and is also available on PC through Steam for $14.99. Demos are available for both platforms.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 7.2 out of 10
Written by Angel Cortes Write a User Review