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Somewhere In The dark halls of PopCap's underground lair, where the purest gaming drugs are constantly refined to keep us under control, the question was asked: "Does the world really need another gem matching game?" The answer must surely have been "Yes! Give those salivating dogs the gems they so crave," and so Gyromancer was born, with a little help from collaborators Square Enix.
The storyline is utterly irrelevant, given it's just a vehicle to allow you to progress to the next gem battle. If you've played Puzzle Quest or any other game like that, you know exactly what's coming. Matching three or more gems in a row to get points is still the basic premise, but there's a lot more to it than that. Your character, a magician called Rivel, summons various beasts to do his fighting for him and each creature has their own preferred gem colour. Matching gems of this hue charges up your creature's special abilities and, when a gem is highlighted, matching these ones causes damage to be inflicted on your enemy.
Likewise, the enemy has a preferred colour and when gems appear with skulls on them, you have to clear them before a timer runs down, otherwise damage is done to your beast.
Gyromancer is actually more strategic than you might think it would be. While there are timers on the skull gems, they only tick down when you make a move, so you've got plenty of time to plan your strategy. Of course, even with this added tactical layer, it's still highly repetitive and suffers from all the same problems as its peers. Also, Gyromancer doesn't feel like a PopCap game really, lacking the charm of their classic releases Plants vs Zombies and Peggie. Perhaps that's because it's made in partnership with Square Enix, whose influence seems to be far more pervasive.
So, while as a gem-matching puzzler it's solid and fun, it doesn't really capture the imagination or provide the lasting impetus to have just one more game that Peggie and Zrno's Revenge do. For those who can't get enough of playing with gems, though, there's both nothing you won't have seen before, and everything that you'll be wanting to see again.
This is one for gem completionists, but it won't be raising any bars or breaking any moulds.