Gemology (Wii U) Review

By Camilo Aránguiz González 30.06.2016

Review for Gemology on Wii U

Sweets and jewel-based games are far from being rare in a mobile phone era, and some of them do accomplish their objective of wasting time, but part of the reason for that is the platform that they're played on. Could Gemology, in its Wii U port version, accomplish its objective?

It's kind of hard to understand why there is an obsession for jewels and gems in the puzzle genre, but in its first impression, Gemology immediately justifies this trend: caverns and mine carts make an interesting scenography, which blend nicely with the mine-chipping gameplay mechanics.

Nevertheless, also in its first impression, the first flaw arises: Gemology's visuals are dull and obsolete; no more advanced than a normal sixth generation game. Add to that the fact that all actions are done via touch controls on the GamePad, and the game fails to distance itself from a cheap mobile effort. Besides these early issues, the player is confronted with slow-reaction touch controls and an interface that should be more intuitive.

In terms of gameplay, there are two modes on offer: Lapidiary and Annealiation. The former is the main mode, which consists of puzzle-solving short stages (similar to puzzle mode in Tetris Attack), where the player has to clear all the gems stuck in the mines by touching on the side of lines that are full of gems. The catch is that the player has a limited number of boulders, which become five gems, and will have to mind the gravity in the stage. These finite resources will force thinking ahead, or, at least, commit a lot of trial and error.

Screenshot for Gemology on Wii U

At first, the gameplay mechanics are kind of hard to incorporate (which isn't helped by the short tutorial), but the stages get funnier when the player does assimilate them. However (and this is a common puzzle game problem), the difficulty curve is too irregular, and fails at balancing frustration and challenge, to the point that it loses the entertaining aspect every game should have. This lack of amusement is deepened by the absence of one of the most loveable elements of the puzzle genre: being addictive.

On the other hand, there's Annealiation mode, which serves as a time mode, where the goal is to go for a high score. In Annealiation, the objective is to create large gems by mixing jewels of the same colour, while the stage is gradually filled with lava. Despite being a nice mental break and change of pace, its little required strategy ¬and - again - lack of addictive value kills its replayability almost immediately.

Gemology's presentation has lovely touches. The option menu is an interactive miner hut, the high scores and level-cleared screens are showed in diplomas by the National Association for Gemologist, and the music is surprisingly good, but is often interrupted by restarting the stage -which happens a lot.

To sum up, neither Lapidiary nor Annealiation mode are addictive nor diverting enough, its puzzle mechanics aren't intuitive, its difficulty curve is too irregular, and its presentation has its ups and downs, making the enjoyable parts of the game too momentary. All in all, Gemology fails at accomplishing its objective: being more fun than frustrating.

Screenshot for Gemology on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Gemology is a flawed game, with serious problems in its difficulty curve, which, as a result, makes for an unsatisfying playthrough. Its two modes aren't as addictive as a puzzle game should be, and its average presentation and handful of rewarding moments aren't enough to make the game worthy of a purchase.

Developer

BNC Design Studios

Publisher

BNC Design Studios

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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