Review : [Gyromancer] (2009) <PC>

Developer : Square Enix (w/ Popcap)
Release Date : 2009
Price : 14.95$ (PC), 1200 MS points + 240 (XBLA)

Could be better. Much better.


This trailer is for XBLA. But this review is for PC.

[Puzzle Quest : Challenge of the Warlords] is masterpiece, and I liked it a lot.1 So when another similar game released, I can't stop purchasing it. Furthermore, it had POPCAP name!

Just the problem is, this game is NOT so masterpiece. Even if I spent over 30 hours to clear & play little bit more for additional 3 maps, it could be much better.


1. Popcap might just share the [Bejeweled Twist] rule.

If Popcap really cared about this game, could be much-much-better. Recently they are making Over-Excellent games only. And Popcap didn't issue any press release at all, while they send me a lot of them.


2. Kicking away customers from this one, kinda business mistake.

I have a friend who purchased over 180 games from Steam only2, and he's fond of buying any kind of good games. He refused to purchase this one, because he read "XBLA version needs to buy additional 3 maps & player must purchase some in-game items." That's very bad thing. PC version for Steam has additional 3 maps for free(just unlock), and doesn't sell any in-game items. If Square Enix marked it exactly, as PC version is much better for that, he might buy it. ... However why they made it so different, when released at the same time?


3. [Puzzle Quest] was more complex. But as we see, [Gyromancer] seems to be more difficult.

I didn't know about that, but as I re-play [Puzzle Quest] for XBLA, I found that [Gyromancer] was more simple. [Puzzle Quest] has too many match-3 aspects. Battle / Get Skill / Make Weapon & Armor / ... etc etc. [Gyromancer] is all about Battle, and getting new Monster Card. It's more simple game, and somewhat easy to finish. But as I played both of the games until the end, I felt that [Gyromancer] was more difficult. The reason? As I assume, Square Enix wanted to make it more 'Hard Core' and just raised difficulties. I still don't understand why I must wander unknown map so a lot, and must clear Cascades 5 (or more) to get new Monster Card.

I liked this game, and saw ending after over 30 hours playing. Even so, [Puzzle Quest : Challenge of the Warlords] was still better.

Where to buy : Steam (PC) / XBLA (XBOX360)

Footnote.
  1. I even re-purchased for XBLA, and re-cleared to gain score. [Back]
  2. If count non-Steam & PSP-NDS, really a lot. [Back]
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5 reasons : Why Popcap is Good?

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To my happy, they never disappoint me after [Bookworm Adventures] in 2006.


1. [Bejeweled].

Who didn't play [Bejeweled] at all? If you've not played it, that's just misunderstood, you might not remember the name.

Of course, [Bejeweled] is NOT everything Popcap has, anyway it has been really big sales / play time until now. And for some Casual Gamers who don't remember the names, [Bejeweled] is Popcap & Popcap is [Bejeweled].


2. 1 game -> Many platforms as possible.

Their unique business style. "Make 1 game & Convert to Many platforms as possible." That really works for their business, and our gaming needs.

For example, [Bejeweled] has been released for Windows PC (Download / Web) - Gaming Console (XBOX Live Arcade) - Mobile (PDA / Cell / Smart / iPhone) - In-flight entertainment system - Hotel game-on-demand - Lottery(!) ticket - and even [World of Warcraft] & Facebook.


3. Really good Casual Games.

I'm not sure every Popcap games has been good. But at least, after [Bookworm Adventures] in 2006, all Popcap games by 'major studio' are good.1

[Bookworm Adventures] - [Peggle] series - [Bejeweled Twist] - and recent masterpiece [Plants vs Zombies]. 4 great (or good for somebody) games in 4 years. How can't I like that company?


4. They care about Hard Core Gamers, too.

Basically Popcap is making games for Casual Gamers. Casual Game market is very different from Hard Core Games, as you already know. But to my suprise, or just be simple, they also care about Hard Core Gamers!

For [Plants vs Zombies], you could clear 'Adventure Mode' not-so-hard. After that, real game starts which is more challening. For [Peggle] series - [Bejeweled Twist], both of them have 'harder challening levels', which could be good gifts for Hard Core Gamers.

And Popcap is selling their games at Steam2, which could be 'Sanctuary of Hard Core Gamers'. Not just selling their games at Steam, but also does some Promotion as [Peggle Extreme] - add Steam Achievements at [Plants vs Zombies].


5. They research for 'Stress Relief' & 'Family Unite with Casual Game'.

Popcap is doing many Surveys - Researches about 'Stress Relief' & 'Faminy Unite with Casual Game'.3

You might not think that's so important. Anyway that's kinda Counterattack to the 'Video Games are Evil' theory, and could grow Ecosystem of whole Casual Game market - even Video Games.

Footnote.
  1. Not sure about others as [Mystery P.I.] series by Spintop, branch of Popcap. [Back]
  2. Let's skip XBOX360 Live Arcade at now. [Back]
  3. If you're getting Press Releases from Popcap, you might get many of them at 2008, as I did. [Back]
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