If you've ever had a tinker with a smart phone or palm pilot then you've probably come across a puzzle game that has you moving coloured icons (usually gems) into chains of three or more. At first glance you'd be forgiven for thinking Gemmed for the iPhone is just another mundane cousin in this expanding family of match three style games, but you'd be wrong… Gemmed is the daddy.
When first booting up Gemmed it's well worth checking out the help menu (signified by a ? on the options screen), otherwise you might miss out on the crucial gameplay elements that help Gemmed go beyond being just another match 3 time killer. The object of the game isn't really about randomly matching coloured gems but about moving gem eating monsters around the board until they reach their respective exit points. The monsters will only move by eating adjacent gems of their own colour and it's up to the player to shuffle the board (by matching 3 or more gems into chains) to push the monsters towards their goal.
There is a level of repetition in the levels but Gemmed tries to keep it fresh by offering monster specific power ups that add a level of strategy to proceedings. One stand out example is the angel power-up, activated by matching a number of white gems together. It's possible to complete the level by ignoring these white gems, but in doing so you pass up on the opportunity to unleash bonuses that may help you complete the stage faster.
Gemmed actually plays more like a board game than a puzzler and it's a real disappointment to see no multiplayer mode at all. The possibility of sabotaging your friends' monsters by stacking up the wrong coloured gems could have led to some brilliant gaming scenarios (think ChuChu Rocket! style subterfuge) so we're hoping it's something wasted pixel addresses in future updates.
The more you play Gemmed the more you get sucked in - what starts as a random chaining of gems ends up in considerate movements and strategic thinking. The lack of multiplayer options and the repetitive nature makes the experience short-lived, but the time you do spend with Gemmed will definitely be an enjoyable one.