Initially released in 2003 and recently released on the Wii, Gem Smashers provides a game that mixes gameplay elements from Bust-A-Move and Arkanoid. The original game from the Game Boy Advance ended up being a game that was way more fun than everybody expected, but I feel that Gem Smashers Wii, released eight years later, seems to have lost a bit of its luster.
The game takes place many years ago in a time that even paleontologists have forgotten. You must control a creature whose sole purpose is to rescue their friends in danger. The antagonist is an evil scientist named Imbu who seeks to capture them in cells. In all, you can pick between three characters: the slow and strong Bam, the fast and weak Bom and Bau, who is average all around.
Once you take control of your character, you must bounce along several stages while colliding with various gems in order to rescue your friends. Color swapping provides you with an added twist; in particular, you need to be the same hue as the gem you want to hit in order to successfully break it open. The only way to change colors is to touch certain blocks scattered around the level. As with any other game, you’ll have to skip obstacles and get power-ups.
In the main storyline, you navigate on an overworld map to access more than a hundred short stages, though the Wii version features longer levels than the GBA version. However, the short length of the game makes it easy to complete. Another aspect thing that really makes the game easy is the nearly a total absence of penalties. Though you can lose a life, you instantly respawn with your points intact, and you do not need to worry about the number of lives you have. In the last quarter of the game, the design makes up for the absence of difficulty, though.
In Color-Cade Mode, lives do have a purpose. In this mode, you need to demolish rocks while you circle a pillar. The levels are simpler and smaller, but you cannot actually pick a stage you want to start from. If it were not for that, I think the fast-paced action would be far more enjoyable.
Graphically speaking, the backgrounds are great and the visuals are more attractive and crisp than most other third-party titles on the console, which is a welcome change of pace from the usual games I play here. Presentation is pretty nice and the music is decent as well. Overall, the game can be pretty fun.