I have not exactly been the biggest fan of the Star Trek universe, I found a lot of enjoyment in the original when I was younger and Enterprise was fun for me but apparently not many others. The movie has already explored the whole “what if Kirk and Picard met” story angle and it was, well, it was a movie. This must be where the premise for Star Trek Wrath of Gems was conceived from since it features both the original Star Trek (Kirk and company) and The Next Generation (Picard and company). This is not an adventure title like most think it would considering the license involved. No, Wrath of Gems is a Bejeweled game with some battle elements strapped on for a change of pace. Fans of other, similar, titles such as Puzzle Quest, Puzzle Troopers and more, will be right at home with Star Trek Wrath of Gems.
While there are two storylines available, I chose the Next Generation one figuring they would intertwine as I went along (I am around the third level and no mention of the original cast). Now, I cannot go back and pick to play any of the original series levels till I get lucky and get past the opponent I am facing in the Next Generation. Bummer. Why am I pointing that out so early? Because other than that little nagging problem, I am loving this game.
Star Trek Wrath of Gems tells its story through cartoonized cut scenes between levels. The feel is pretty similar to what you would expect from the show with only a few pieces of dialogue sounding “off” or forced. Each level has multiple attempts available, each win unlocking a new, predetermined, prize. This really helps with replay and gives you some solid goals to go for as you progress. It also plays to two very distinct gamers- the completionist (like me) and those that just wish to finish a game as quickly as possible (not me).
The actual gameplay is pretty straight forward, I am slightly confused at times on the myriad of menus but the gameplay is straight Bejeweled if it was a two player game. Each gem represents something different (red is photon torpedoes, green are lasers, etc). That is ship to ship battles. In diplomatic negotiations those same gems are just gems. The difference is, there are three on each side of your opponent. You have to match them based on turning the negotiations your way. Three gems are good and three are bad, match too many that are bad and you lose the negotiations and have to start over. There is also one on one combat where your characters will battle at least one opponent, sometimes more, and the gems are powering your special abilities. When filled up, you can launch a special attack that is devastating.
One thing about Star Trek Wrath of Gems that I like is it is straight Bejeweled. Unlike Pokemon Shuffle where you could move a gem all the way across the screen. I can’t stand that type of gameplay element. It takes nearly all of the challenge out of the game and becomes a rush to finish the current battle just to start another. Star Trek Wrath of Gems is straight Bejeweled where you are swapping left and right or up and down and using special gems to remove rows/columns or a color. Thank goodness.