Gematombe (XSX) Review with stream

Taking the block breaking gameplay of classic Arkanoid and mixing it with the competitive matching mechanic of Bust-A-Move, Gematombe is a unique pick-up-and-play $15 downloadable title that is pleasantly surprising.

Made by a small indie team and published by Ratalaika Games, this smashing take on block busting gameplay is simple, fun, but still has some depth. In the story mode, Pandora needs to capture evil characters and seal them in a magic jar. To do this, she must defeat each one using block breaking gameplay. Each playable character has some subtle differences in how the pieces are presented in your well, just like in Puyo Puyo. If you ever played any single player Pong-clone, Gematombe is that only it is possible to send garbage pieces to your opponent’s side like in Tetris, Dr. Mario, or pretty much any other puzzle game.

When you press the shoot button, the cannon locks into place and the player is free to align the shot via a ghosted outline. If you manage to hit several blocks with one shot, or nail certain power-up tiles, then junk pieces can be sent to your opponent’s side or can even lower the screen by one row. Clearing blocks of the same color can also result in a bigger combo so aiming well will be an important skill to master. Even if you suck at games like Bust-A-Move, the ball still bounces here so it is entirely possible to get lucky and anyone of any skill can play it. Just be sure to catch the ball as it returns or your side will drop by a row.

In the stream embedded in this article, you’ll see that I breeze though the first campaign option with only a couple hiccups. However, this was set at the lowest difficulty. By increasing the speed or playing with a competitive partner, gameplay can remain heated and faster paced. Outside of the standard campaign, VS, and practice modes, solo players also have access to a Survivor mode where the goal is to last as long as possible. There is no online play but these extra modes extend the replay value.

Visually, the game looks like a recently released Puyo Puyo game with its heavily outlined cartoony sprites, easy to read text, and bright colors. The soundtrack also reminds me of early 3D Sonic titles, so the presentation values are high, especially considering the small but talented dev team.

Besides not offering online play, my only complaint comes from the random difficulty swings. With some matches, I was able to defeat the computer AI with 2 shots. Alternatively, they were able to do the same, beating me as the game was just starting. However, quick restarts make these learning experiences easier to tolerate. 

Mixing Brickles with Puzzle Bobble is one of those “why didn’t anyone think of this sooner” type games but glad it is finally here. The easy-going presentation works in tandem with the simple yet engaging gameplay.  Even if you can’t enjoy it online, the Clear Or Crush gameplay comes recommended for all.

SCORE: 8/10

More Accessible Than: Treasure Stack

Better Than: you thought this mixing of genres would be

Don’t Forget About: Mudd Blocks in the Mutants Mudds Collection

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

Please consider supporting me on Patreon.

Liked it? Take a second to support squallsnake on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!
Back to top