Gems of War
(F2P Battle Match-3/RPG/Card Collector)
If Puzzle Quest
and Runespell Overture
-- both highly-addictive -- had a love child, I imagine that this game would be the outcome. TL;DR at the end under Verdict.
There are separate tabs for Options, and include separate sliders for Music and SFX, Speed (default 1.5x -- I keep mine at 4x), Hints and more. Under the Graphics tab you'll find a place where you can turn off the holiday themes (such as clown skulls for international clown day or pumpkin skulls for Halloween).NOTE:
If your game looks wonky and is flickering, etc., make sure that there's nothing sitting on your controller. ;)Story
: Let's face it, Gems of War
is not about the story. Each kingdom that you explore has a storyline, and these range from amusing to exasperating (looking at you Princess Elspeth!) -- some are even interesting -- but the stories never were meant to be the driving focus of the experience. It's all about the...Gameplay
The basics of the are simple: Match gems to gather mana in order to cast spells, and match skulls to do a direct attack on your enemies. Gameplay is entirely turn-based.
You take a turn, your opponent takes a turn. Nowhere in the game will you be required to have quick reflexes.
The game starts off with a very good tutorial
that will teach you what you need to know in the beginning. At this point it's very linear, but after you finish the story in the first kingdom, you'll have a bit more freedom. At this point you can choose which kingdom to unlock next, or you can do one of the following in your completed kingdom(s):
- Challenges: Collect needed resources such as souls, gold, glory etc.
- Explores: 5 battles to help you earn experience, traitstones, souls, gold and mythstones. When you collect 100 mythstones, you can do a mythic boss battle at the end of your explore, which will earn you tokens. 3 tokens = a badge, 3 badges = a medal. There are multiple kinds of badges/medals that you can equip from the main kingdom screen (at the top) that will give you various buffs, from extra armor to cleansing negative status effects to bonus magic strength
There are multiple benefits to unlocking kingdoms:
Online Gameplay Only
- Banners: Banners are buffs to your gem-matching. A +Red +Brown banner will give you the an extra red and an extra brown mana each time you match those gems, whereas a ++Blue, +Green, -Yellow banner will give you two extra mana for blue matches, +1 green and -1 yellow (so if you match 3 yellow gems, you'll only get the +2 to your mana)
- New Cards: Each kingdom has a story guide, and at the end of their storyline, they will join your group, making them available to add to your team
- Kingdom Troops: Each kingdom you visit has its own denizens with their own powers. Playing against these troops will help you get to know the enemies, which at some point you will own! Every opponent you meet is a card that you can pull from a chest, with only a few exceptions
- Class Quest: Each Kingdom has its own Class (ie. Assassin, Frostmage, Sentinel, Warpriest), which you unlock by doing the Class Quest (another short story segment). Classes can give crazy benefits via leveling, traits, unlocking talents and a special Class Weapon that you can earn from getting 250 wins with that class
You MUST be connected to the internet to play this game. There are multiple reasons for this, the primary of which is the fact that there are constant updates
and new events almost every day
A new troop-of-the-week is released every Monday. This troop can be obtained via chests or from the shop in the Weekly Event
tab (purchase with glory).
The first Friday of every month
a new Mythic
releases. Let me explain:Troop rarity
is indicated by the color of the border on each card in the following order: White, Green, Blue, Purple, Orange, Turquoise, with white being common and Turquoise being a mythic quality (and the hardest to get from chests). Don't worry, there are stars at the top of the cards that show you how rare they are. The more stars that are colored in, the rarer the card.
Every 5 weeks we get a new faction
to play in, which you'll find in...The Underworld
As you get close to completing all of the kingdoms in Krystara (our main map), you'll be able to unlock the underworld. There you will find factions
, each having its own mini-story. Once you complete the storyline, you'll be able to do a delve
at the site.Delves
Delving is a different kind of gameplay than what you've experienced thus far. You'll still be fighting battles, but this time in a series of 9 rooms -- each with its own rewards -- culminating in a chest of rewards when you either lose your whole team or complete the delve by finishing the boss room.Your team persists from room-to-room
! It cannot be changed, and if you lose a troop, it's gone for the rest of the delve. This is a love-it or hate-it type of gameplay, and while it make me really anxious at first, once I obtained some reliably-good troops, I really started to enjoy them!Upgrading your kingdoms and factions
Oh my... This is one of the confusing parts of the game.
When you upgrade your kingdoms, there are two levels: Power level
and Star level
, each of which costs different resources, and each giving you their own bonuses.
Upgrading factions also has two levels: Hoard level and hoard quality. The basic level increases your stats whilst you're in the delve (bonuses to Magic, Armor, Life, etc), whilst the quality will increase how much good stuff you get from the chest at the end of the delve. Each faction has to be upgraded separately.The Social Aspect
Do you HAVE to be social in this game? Do you HAVE to join a guild? No, absolutely not, but you'll get SO much more out of it if you do. I like to play solo. It's just how I roll, so I didn't look at chat or join a guild until I'd completed over half of the kingdoms.
You're going to have questions at some point, and the best and fastest way to get answers is to ask your fellow players, so at least head into global chat
. There are multiple channels in there, so if you don't like one you're in, join a different one! Chat is on the left side of the screen, and is easily-accessible via most of the screens in the game, including battles.JOIN A GUILD
! If you don't want to talk to anyone and don't want to have requirements, there are guilds out there for you, and you can still get some of the basic rewards, just join one that is the highest level possible so that you can have better stat boosts.
If you really like this game and want to play it daily, join an active guild
. The benefits of joining a guild
- World Events: Every week there is a new "World Event", which you can only participate with if you're in a guild. The whole team works together to beat stages and earn reward tiers. These rewards get progressively better, so being in an active guild guarantees you better rewards
- Stat Bonuses: There are Tasks that your guild can complete with gold every week, and finishing those tasks gives you not only a bonus to your stats (Magic, Armor, etc.), but also immediate rewards such as gems, glory, keys, etc.
- Guild Seals:
is easy -- Just play the game! An active guild will require you to collect your seals every day or two 'til you hit your minimum-required for the guild or the game limit of 2000. The reason for this is the number under Guild Weekly Seals. When you hit 40,000/40,000, your guild chests will raise to level 6
, which will get you the highest possible quality out of those seals. You'll get some of the best troops in the game from those chests, which is why an active guild is recommended!NOTE
: Use guild seals in the Chests areaGlory and shards and keys, oh my
So many resources
to keep track of!
- Gold: Used to upgrade kingdoms and buy resources
- Gems: Used to buy resources and extra sigils/fun stuff in the event shop area
- Souls: Used to upgrade classes and troops' levels, the highest of which is level 20. Increasing the level will buff your stats for that troop.
- Traitstones: Used to unlock traits. Each troop and class has three traits that can be unlocked. These can be things like immunity to status effects, starting battles with full mana, poisoning troops with skull damage and many many more.
- Ingots: These are used to upgrade weapons, and they have the same rarity as troops, ranging from white (common) to mythic (the rarest). These can be found by winning PvP battles or by doing delves (delves are the best source of legendary and mythic ingots)
- Guild Seals (see the Guild section above) and Chaos Shards: Chaos Shards are used to open "portals" in the Underworld. These portals (basically chests) will get you the troops for that faction, along with treasures that you use to increase the quality of your hoard for that faction.
- Keys: The quality of what you'll get from each kind of key varies, with Gold Keys being the most common troops (I don't recommend using your gold to buy these -- save your money!), then Glory keys, then Gem Keys. Event Keys are gained mostly from being in a guild, and will get you troops from the kingdom that we're currently focused on for the World Event.
Do you have to do PvP? Nope, but it's a great way to see some interesting troop combinations, and trust me, it's not as painful as you think ;)
When you go into PvP, you will be attacking others' defense teams, and the AI handles their side of the battle. To set up your own team for others to attack, simply click on the Defenders tab and put one of your teams in there. You'll be alerted of wins and losses, and can play revenge battles that will earn you some nice bonuses.
If you aren't interested in (or are intimidated by) the leaderboard, just switch to the Casual tab and no one will ever know you were there ;DFREE?
Wait... All of this is free-to-play? Why yes it is! You can play this game every day of your life and never pay a penny. There are of course things that you can buy that will help you along the way and/or make your progression faster, but I don't feel like these things give an unfair advantage. Everything available for purchase is something that you can earn yourself eventually.Verdict
This is a highly-addictive battle match-3 game with card collecting (troops) and some RPG aspects (upgrading your classes, kingdoms, troops, etc). Beware, oh ye of OCD, for your playing of other games ends here! Gems of War has a surprising depth to it that keeps me coming back day after day, a great community, and above all else, FUN!