When thinking about Match-3 puzzle games, the first thought to come to mind is unlikely to be fighting. Yet spun from the simple but addictive Bejeweled formula, the genre has powered major titles such as Marvel Puzzle Quest, Puzzle & Dragons and 10000000.
Namco Bandai and Invictus have tried to do something a little different with Jewel Fight: Heroes of Legend, reinvigorating the formula in a favourable way.
The first thing you’ll notice with Jewel Fight is that we have a Match-3 puzzler with relatively high production values. The quality of the graphics is surprisingly good, the jewels themselves sparkling and gleaming gloriously on the grid, complete with hand-drawn cut-scenes and beautiful character art. Jewel Fight has been designed to separate itself from the rest of the genre, looking distinct and unique with nice design. As a result, it takes hold of you unwittingly and pulls you into the game effortlessly.
Jewel Fight is limited to having a Campaign and Arena mode, but unlike other games, you’ll likely spend an equal amount of time alternating between them. Within the campaign you need to choose between one of three classes – Warrior, Rogue or Mage – and journey through the world of Wildmoon. Arena is essentially you fighting wave after wave of enemies.
Each class offers unique spells and abilities, performed by matching the corresponding jewels on the grid. Through Wildmoon, your chosen class will confront hordes of creatures and even human enemies. The aim is to fight through them, take out a mid-section boss, then you’ll be presented with a cut-scene to progress the story.
Sadly, the writing is generally poor and the narration isn’t much better. The voice-over sounds bored and unenthused by the quality of the writing, and the words just don’t carry themselves.
But the gameplay is refreshing. Depending on which class is selected, players have three different abilities to choose from. There’s a standard strike which can be powered up by two different jewel types, a defence ability which helps reduce some of the damage your character takes and a power move which can inflict damage on an opponent, offer additional benefits for the player or other things.
The aim is to take your opponent’s health down to zero and move on to the next battle. The action always feels fluid and handles brilliantly. Battles sometimes start off with an avalanche grid; jewels sometimes being matched together involuntarily, which can occasionally start you off with bad luck if the grid goes against you. Equally, however, it could give you a distinct advantage.
Battles are generally very easy to get through, especially if you tackle the arena in-between downtime. Experience is shared between Campaign and Arena, but enemies won’t scale in difficulty. So eventually, you’ll find yourself quite overpowered and powerful when going through the story. You might even start to feel a little sorry for your opposition. This can bring the game’s difficulty into question, though it’s not necessarily a negative thing as you’re putting extra time into grinding in the arena and only benefitting from due diligence.
The great thing about Jewel Fight is that you’re not stuck with the same three abilities all game. There is a store you can visit between battles and spend your earned gold and diamonds. You can purchase new armour for your character, each piece having unique attributes. There are also weapons that can be purchased, artefacts with particular benefits, as well as new abilities which you can swap out with the old ones.
All in all, Jewel Fight is an entertaining package and quite deep and detailed with the armour purchasing and jewel matching. The fighting style works well in a match-3 puzzler, though fighting enemy after enemy does start to drag after a while, especially since the story isn’t particularly engaging. If you’re a fan of match-3 fighters, Jewel Fight is probably worth adding into your rotation.