There are lots of games now that you can play ‘with Friends.’ It started with Words, then moved on to Hanging, Chess, Scramble, Matching, and now Gems. Gems with Friends continues the long line of casual, asynchronous multiplayer games that lure you in with addictive gameplay. Still moving away from word games, Zynga has created a new Match-3 game that is more accessible for those gamers who don’t prefer difficult tile puzzle games, but it might not be the overwhelming success Zynga is accustomed to.
Gems with Friends uses very simple rules. Match three similar gems for points. Gems match if the number of the gem is the same as at least two other gems in proximity. When these gems are placed next to each other, you earn points and a new gem. For instance, if you match a line of 1 gems, you earn a 2 gem. That gem is now worth more points, and it appears in the spot where you placed the last matching gem. The higher the number on the gem, the more points you earn for making a match.
Colorful as a bag of Skittles.
While these rules may sound easy, there are tricks to dominating your friends. First, you’ll need to play fast. Placing gems quickly earns you stars, which increase points earned. If you take too much time to place your next gem, the number of stars you have decreases.
Second, create chains. Chains of matches can happen if you can place your gems in the right spot. If you can match a series of 1 gems right next to an incomplete series of 2 gems, you can create a chain reaction that will earn you a jackpot in points and a 3 gem.
Third, learn to use your bonus gems. The game includes several types of bonus gems, which can be used as wildcards to complete a set. One bonus gem freezes time, while another will increases your number of stars. Each bonus gem can be upgraded to further broaden their powers.
Oh so gemmy.
Once you take into account all of these elements, Gems with Friends can become a frantic game of chain reactions, bonuses, and stars. You only have two minutes for each round, so you’ll need to play often and fast. Each game consists of three rounds, and whoever wins the majority of the rounds is the winner.
The only problem with Gems with Friends that we can see is that it’s not for everybody. The gameplay can be learned quickly, and it certainly is addictive. However, the fast-paced element may not suit everyone’s style. Each game board begins differently, with pre-placed gems waiting to be used. If you know what you’re doing, you can place the right gems in the right spots for combo chains. For those who like time to think the game through, like in Chess or Words with Friends, this game doesn’t offer that experience.
Zynga is certainly no stranger to multiplayer games, and Gems with Friends is a welcome addition to the franchise. It’s a close cousin to the Matching with Friends game, but the mechanics of numbered gems with combo chains is new enough to make the game feel fresh. While its fast-paced action may not suit all gamers, Gems with Friends is sure to win over lots of people.