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Magic Gem Review

Developer: Alawar Publisher: Alawar
Release Date: July 14, 2005 Also On: None

Alawar’s Magic Gem was made to generate money. That is not a bad thing as such since it is true for almost all games. It only becomes a problem if it is the only ambition involved. Magic Gem was not made to provide entertainment or even to be a lot of fun. It was not made to be a good game.

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And it certainly is not. It is another gem swapper. Swap gems and if you get a row of three it will vanish. More gems fall in from the top all the time so you have to clear as many as you can before the playfield gets filled to the top and you lose. Nothing new and certainly nothing interesting.

Magic Gem is not unplayable but it does not even remotely reach the entertaining gameplay of competitors like Bejeweled. There are power-ups to make the game more interesting. They let you bomb an area of the playfield or repaint a number of gems. They are pretty much the only bright moment of the game because there are bubbles going up that you have to catch, adding something to the game that is not just gem swapping.

There are two game modes. One is the endless mode that has you swapping gems until you die. The other is a “story” mode although there is no story. You have to finish a number of levels of increasing difficulty by surviving long enough to destroy a given number of gems. The difficulty gets pretty tough and I was not able to complete all levels which I think is quite weird for a casual game.

I already mentioned that there is no story. That is only half true. The so-called “Quest” mode at least suggests that there is one. Levels are places on a fantastic map and they have fitting names like Dragon Cave or Castle in the Sky. The playfield background in each level is a fantastic creature which is probably the monster you have to fight or something although there is no relation to the level name. No dragon in the Dragon Cave.

The presentation of Magic Gem is not bad as such. The problem is that it has no style. Everything is just there to do its job and does it pretty well but it just does not look good or fitting. The same is basically true for the music. There was one horrible moment in the game when two pieces of music started playing at the same time. It is not just an isolated incident, it happens every time you restart a lost level. This could have been prevented by basic play-testing so I guess this is not done at Alawar before they release a game.

I do not have to say “do not get this game” because I cannot think of a reason why you should get the idea to do so. There are plenty of better puzzle games and likely even a number with basically the same gameplay. Magic Gem is superfluous attempt to make money.

Graphics: 4
Sound: 2
Gameplay: 2
Creativity: 0.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 5
Final: 2.7
Written by Ortwin Review Guide