Review by StingX2
"The best take on the breakout formula yet"
Do you remember Arkanoid reader, or maybe you remember Breakout? If you remember those, than Gem Smashers for Gameboy Advance certainly will be like a trip down memory lane. For the rest of you readers, Arkanoid/Breakout were old video games where you hit a ball into colored thin rectangles and after hitting one the ball would come down to the bottom of the screen where you had to prevent the ball from falling into a bottomless pit. Your weapon of choice in those two games was a simple white paddle you could move left and right.
Gem Smashers takes that classic formula and adds a more modern spin to it. Each level consists of a small square room with different colored gems, a door to leave and hidden special items. There is a twist though in the form of color matching, to defeat a red gem your player must hit a red colored spring making the player the color red. It's the adding of that twist that keeps the difficulty and identity of the game. Instead of a bottomless pit Smashers gives you death blocks marked by the traditional human skull of doom. Taking a new spin on an old formula really works in this title and sometimes you really feel like you're playing Bubble Bobble Pinball (patent not pending) instead.
The gameplay in Gem Smashers is certainly repetitive using its simple gameplay but the difficulty like a Bubble Game really gets extreme as you start to reach levels in the 70s, 80s, and up. The Items as well can keep the game from going stale; warps, clones, and a color destroying item are just a few samples of what Smashers has to offer in terms of spicing up gameplay or in my case saving me from dying.
All I have to say is this, Gem Smashers has to have a top ten slot on the Gameboy Advance in terms of Graphics. Every background is bright, full of color and extremely beautiful. The only downside to that is its very distracting and takes a minute or two to adjust your eyes to concentrate on the foreground instead of the background. Then again the foreground is just as bright and colorful so don't be shocked to lose a few lives to the pretty colors.
Audio in Smashers may be the low point of the game by far. There are only a few musical tracks, all sound the same, all are repetitive and all will send your fingers running for the volume bar on your Gameboy. The sound effects though are all well done, none over the top and all help keep a mental tab on whether you're hits' broke a gem or not.
Luckily the great thing about Arcade style video games, or simplistic ones is that the replay ability is through the roof. Gem Smashers is no different with the option to play through the main mode and a challenge mode with 3 different characters (although there really is nothing if a slight difference in movement), the replay ability never feels dry.
In the end Gem Smashers won't change the world of gaming, or even get much notice but it should. With some of the best Gameboy Advance graphics, an addicting main mode that doesn't get dull, game changing items and a difficulty that challenges you time after time. It simply doesn't get old, and is a must have for the gamer wanting a pick-up and play game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/16/06
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