Sometimes, when I see a game played with brightly colored gems (often in the shape of Lucky Charms pieces), I want to cry or at least, look the other way. But sometimes, once I get past the baubles, I find myself engrossed. Spirits of Metropolis, thankfully, was a case of the latter.
Spirits of Metropolis is a gem-matching puzzle game, but with a twist. Rather than matching three or more gems in a row and watching them disappear, you must match gems in horizontal and vertical patterns, setting up chains from a central point. This means you can actually plan out your moves in advance, assuming you get the gems you need (ala Tetris blocks.) You can also set up the board multiple times within the time limit for each level.
There are five types of play in Spirits of Metropolis: arcade, color bars, puzzle, patterns, and endurance. While arcade (timed chains) and endurance (no time limit) modes are self-explanatory, others present more of a challenge. The “color bars” play restricts all blocks of one color from being changed until a chain has been set off, at which point it changes the color blocked. “Patterns” challenges you to match colored gems to patterns laid out for you on the board. “Puzzle” mode challenges you with particular boards and challenges, created by both the creators of the game and by other players.
Thankfully, Spirits of Metropolis has a very welcoming tutorial, full of examples and how-to’s that not only show you how to play the game and its fundamentals, but also give you great pointers on how to beat levels by increasing your chains, and how to use play modes like colored bars to your advantage. And since the game is only a matter of point and click, playing is a breeze once you get a hang of the basic strategy.
The graphics used in Spirits of Metropolis are impressive, not due to their quality or uniqueness I’ve mentioned already my distaste for gems in puzzle games but because of their adaptability. The game offers the ability to change between generic round shapes and special shaped gems, has options for those that are color blind, and even lets you pick a shade for each type of gem based on your own preference. Blissfully, the music is non-invasive on your game play; you won’t need to turn it off a few levels in because it’s too loud or droning.
If you’re a puzzle lover, you’re sure to find Spirits of Metropolis a real treat. Creative, thoughtful, and kept current, Spirits of Metropolis offers impressive playability that won’t get tired after a week. In fact, this little gem may give Bejeweled a run for its money.
Spirits of Metropolis may be purchased for $19.99 on its official site. There is also a demo available. System requirements include:
* Windows 2000, Windows XP or Windows Vista
* DirectX 8 or later
* DirectX 8 compatible graphics card with at least 32MB of video memory
* Pentium or equivalent processor
* DirectX 8 compatible sound card
* 190 MB of memory or greater
* 800×600 or greater screen resolution with 16-bit or 32-bit colors