Gematombe is an arcade-puzzle game for the Nintendo Switch. It features block-breaking action set in a world inspired by Greek mythology. With cute graphics and plenty of gems to bust, is it worth your time, or does it open Pandora’s box?

Yes, in Gematombe, you play the role of Greek mythology’s favorite heroine, Pandora. Actually, there are several characters to choose from, but you begin with this titular character as you make your way through the rest of the crew of six. 

Gematombe - Nintendo Switch - Screen 2

The gameplay involves lobbing a ball into colored gems to break them all before your opponent does the same in their field. The ball bounces around with the usual physics until it returns to you for another shot. Eliminating multiple gems in a row results in an attack on your opponent, forcing new gems onto their screen and pushing everything down. It’s a simple and sometimes tense premise we’ve seen many times over the years, begging the question: how does this title stand out?

The story mode helps by adding some personality and flair. We’re taken on a journey across Greek mythology to defeat several villains and rid the world of daemons. Between battles, Pandora quips with the next villain in a cute scene. It’s clear our heroine is the genuine article, determined to see her mission through, and I enjoyed her optimistic enthusiasm.

It’s a short story, though, with only six levels until the credits roll. In easy mode, I breezed through in about half an hour, though there are two other modes that provide a greater challenge. There are also a few other incentives to continue.

Gematombe - Nintendo Switch - Screen 3

Firstly, the story mode can be replayed using other characters. This effectively creates six ways to play, eighteen if you want to try every difficulty level. Every character comes equipped with a unique skill, which serves as their attack. These add some variety to the gameplay, although most of the time, I was concentrating on eliminating gems rather than checking on how my attacks were going; they’re automatic, so they slide into the background during games.

An endless mode is the most obvious choice for replaying after completion, with some nice settings to help customize the experience. I was looking forward to this solo mission, but it turned out to be less fun than expected. It plays just fine, it’s just a one-trick pony, and I found it either too easy or too hard. I suppose the adrenaline rush of a competitor adds some spice to the gameplay.

Gematombe - Nintendo Switch - Screen 1

This all leads to a fun but short-lived experience, making it somewhat hard to justify the $14.99 price tag. I’d be much happier seeing this one for about $5. The endless mode means you can keep playing, but with only one style of game, it becomes repetitive. I could see extra incentives like leaderboards or daily challenges adding life to Gematombe, but as it is, it’s not one I’ll be rushing back to.

Visually, Gematombe presents a cute cartoon style that captures the light-hearted mood of the game. This extends to the simple banter between characters before battles, creating a simple and innocent affair that’s accessible to all ages. 

Overall, Gematombe is a fun, if simple, block-breaking action game. The graphics are cute and colorful, and the silly story is amusing. There are a few modes to incentivize replay, however, they still rely on the same block-breaking mechanic, leading to tedium. I appreciate what the developers have done here, and I hope they continue to breathe life into the game via DLC or other updates.