Gems Of War (Further Impressions)Don't play this game.
I'm warning you. After a few more hours, I have come to realize that this game is ridiculously good, more fun than Puzzle Quest, and will be an absolute time sink. Seriously, it's a complete blast.
Plus, I have plenty of in-game money and haven 't seen anything to suggest the slimy tendrils of F2P mechanics. Not once.
What makes this game so interesting is the interlocking elements. You have a series of kingdoms, and inside each kingdom, there are quests and challenges, each with separate rewards and purposes. Plus you can defend/invade other players (not actually playing them live, but playing against their builds, I believe).
A build consists of four cards, each with attack/armor/health ratings, as well as a special quality. So a card's special ability might be turning five gems on the board into green gems, for example. And each card's ability gets filled by matching a certain color gem (or, in some cases, either of two colors). So it's a match-three, certainly, but there's lots more going on.
You can level up your troop cards by completing challenges, which rewards you with souls, which you can then use on training. The quests reward you with additional troop cards plus money, and additional kingdoms are unlocked with the money.
I'm sure I played at least thirty quests in the original kingdom, so there's plenty of meat in each one, I'm guessing.
Anyway, if at some point your character is overwhelmed, it's easy to jump in to some challenges, gain souls, and level up your character so that you can continue.
My one complaint, and it's not much of one, is that in spite of the quest descriptions, the board is always the same, and the differences in combat are based on the special abilities/gems to fill of the enemy cards instead of using different play mechanics like timed sequences or different shaped boards or different rules.
That would have been nice, but this game is so borderline hypnotic anyway that it seems like a real niggle.
Like I said, stay away. Too good.