DynoGems (PlayStation Minis)Review—Little Gem

Ah, DynoGems! Curse you and your adorable little dinosaur and jaunty music. How can a game be stuffed with such sugary sweetness and so shamelessly go for the cuteness factor and yet still actually be a really great game underneath it all?

Possibly because, behind the bouncy music, disturbingly cheery sound effects and blindingly bright colour scheme, StormBASIC’s DynoGems is quite simply a ridiculously addictive, ‘match four’ game that you just can’t put down.

Once you start playing, you won’t even notice the cute dinosaur. His job is simply to take and throw back the gems that descend slowly in rows towards the bottom of the screen, with the aim of matching four or more of the same colour to make them disappear.

At the same time, you’re trying to quickly clear the gems before they touch the bottom of the screen, ending the game. Your little dinosaur buddy can only hold up to three gems at a time, and once he has them you have to decide where to throw them back to earn the most points and clear the most rows.

It’s the sort of thing that ‘match three’ and ‘match four’ fans and any Tetris fan will be very familiar with, hardly innovative or ground-breaking stuff, but it’s still a lot of fun all the same. The explosions when you pull off super combos are very satisfying and keep you going back for more time after time.

The controls are exactly the same on PSP and PS3: press X to take up to three gems, square or O to throw back all the gems you currently hold, and triangle to unleash one of the ‘Magic’ power-ups, such as the lightning bolt which clears out an entire column. Move from left to right using either the directional buttons or the analog stick.

There are two gameplay modes, Classic and Endless. In Classic Mode your aim is to earn enough points to fill up the meter on the right of the screen and reach the next level. The game ends when one of the gems touches the bottom of the screen, a bit like Tetris in reverse.Endless Mode is pretty self-explanatory. There are no levels to progress through, you’re just going all out for a high score. Other than that, the gameplay is exactly the same as in Classic Mode and you still get to use Magic power-ups.

The overall presentation is very bright and sparkly, and as basic as the game is, it actually works really well on the PS3 too if you feel like sitting back in your armchair and playing it on the big screen.

It’s probably fair to say that the high-pitched cheering that occurs every time you pull off an impressive combo might start to grate after a while, but the gameplay is so absorbing that even the OTT sound effects shouldn’t encroach too much on your overall enjoyment unless you’re feeling particularly cranky!

DynoGems is what it is. It’s a ‘match four’ game with a very simple premise and even simpler execution, but for some reason you just can’t put it down, and you’ll probably be playing it for weeks to come. I thought Heracles Chariot Racing was going to be the best game this week – I was wrong!

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