Traps n' Gemstones Review
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Traps n' Gemstones Review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on July 28th, 2014
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CASTLEVANIA JONES
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Fight mummies, dig tunnels, and ride a runaway minecart to discover ancient secrets in this throwback exploration game.

Developer: Donut Games
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.00
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound: Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Game Controls: Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Gameplay: Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Replay Value: Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Traps n' Gemstones is an action adventure game in which players explore an ancient tomb to discover its mysteries and undo the misdeeds of a mysterious looter. The game bears quite a bit of a resemblance to classics like Castlevania and Metroid in terms of overall structure, gameplay, and quality.

Much like the games it is modeled after, Traps n' Gemstones revolves around players exploring a complex, interconnected environment where puzzle-solving, traversal, and combat must be used together to reach new areas, gather items, and progress through the game. In this game in particular, players are bent on capturing a temple looter who is hiding behind a mysterious forcefield that can only be broken by recovering lost relics and placing them in their proper locations. Although because the setting is an ancient underground temple, finding these relics involves fighting mummies, outrunning boulders, riding minecarts, and many other Indiana Jones-type situations.

Players move around the environment using on-screen controls that are fairly typical. Jumping, rolling, and whipping are the main actions, although players are capable of doing more as they acquire items and encounter unique situations. Although I typically try to avoid onscreen controls (as they are often imprecise, distracting, or poorly implemented), Traps n' Gemstones moves at a pace that is well-suited to its controls while remaining challenging. In addition, if players do find themselves reaching the Game Over screen, all that will happen is that they will restart at the beginning of the room they were in - although all of their gemstones will be taken away from them. This might sound like a big penalty, but gemstones really only serve as a high score indicator. Players that are cautious throughout the game may be at the top of their Game Center leaderboard, but players that die often can still finish the game without getting too frustrated.

A discussion of Traps n' Gemstones would not be complete without talking about its many collectibles. As the title implies, there are a lot of gemstones for players to pick up; although there are also lost relics, items, gold statuettes, and more. While most of these collectibles serve to show how much exploring players have done, items like dynamite, a gun, and an oxygen tank are also crucial for reaching specific locations. Similarly, the lost relics largely reveal previously inaccessible areas of the game map after being placed in the right location. Balancing between opening new areas using items vs. placing relics feels like a smart decision primarily because it makes the game somewhat nonlinear. Some relics are obtainable through pure platforming or puzzle-solving, while others require items, and players can choose from either of those paths throughout most of the game.

Overall, Traps n' Gemstones is a very solid game. It feels like a definite throwback with its visuals and classic design, and Donut Games pulled it off. Traps n' Gemstones is definitely worth checking out.

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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