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Video Game / Gyromancer

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Gyromancer is what you get if you take a Puzzle Game by PopCap Games and embed it in a Role-Playing Game by Square Enix (and add just a dash of Pokémon for good measure). It was released in 2009 for Windows PCs and Xbox 360.

Gameplay consists of moving along branching pathways until you run into a monster, then fighting it with a chosen monster of your own. This is done by playing a game much like Bejeweled Twist (by one of the co-developers), in that you have an array of coloured jewels on the screen and can twist any set of four in a clockwise direction. Line them up and they vanish, with new ones falling to replace them. As you move, your monster and the enemy monster both charge up their attacks (at different rates depending on just what you're doing). When they've charged, something happens - most typically, a jewel on the board becomes empowered, and by clearing that particular jewel, you either damage the enemy monster (if it's your jewel) or avert damage to your own (if it isn't). Various complications are added as you level up, as are new monsters for you to upgrade to.

Plot-wise, players mostly control a powerful mage named Rivel Arday, who has been sent by the King of Yshmea into a vast, old forest after a group of rebel knights who killed a Count. Rivel is joined by Laska Terrado, a ranger assigned to help him. Their opposition is led by Qraist Kingsley, a renegade knight who proclaims the kingdom to be corrupt and oppressive, and casts himself as a liberator. The forest itself is controlled by a powerful being called the Lord of the Wood, who has his own interests.

The game provides examples of:

  • The Archmage: Rivel Arday, the main protagonist, is a sufficiently powerful magic-user that the strategy of the opposition is to avoid him until they can harness the magic of the Lord of the Wood.
  • Attack Reflector:
    • If you use the Wolves' Countervolt to destroy an enemy attack gem, it is still set off... but against its owner instead of you.
    • The Yowie's Steal ability steals an enemy gem, locks it and make it yours.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: The standard battle music is mostly orchestral. Contrast with the final boss music, pretty much a symphonic metal track.
  • Back from the Dead: Deno kills Laska, but she doesn't stay dead for much longer than is necessary for Rivel to see her corpse. She's brought back by the Lord of the Wood.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Ants, gnats, centipedes, and mantises. You can even get some of them on your side.
  • Body Horror: When Qraist claims the Jewel of Aldemona Wood, it mutates him into a twisted behemoth of flesh.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The Four and Dragon's Haven are only slightly harder than the final level, but Challenger's Door takes the cake. You have to use a single beast to fight 15 consecutive ones (including nasties like Mythril Gigas, Mantis Devil, Motu, Resheph, Nahar and Wolflord), without any recovery, while your beast is stuck at level 10. Good luck.
  • Character Level: Players have a level, as do monsters (whether they belong to the player or are enemies). Monsters advance in level along with the player, except that they have level caps which will eventually prevent them from advancing further. This has the effect of requiring players to trade in their monsters from time to time rather than sticking with the same set throughout the game.
  • Damage-Increasing Debuff: Abilities that reduce defence include the Huntsman Spider's Capture, the Ants' Acid Rain (and its upgraded form, the Manticore's Aquaregia), Deno's Provoke, and Everett's Soul Slave.
  • Defeat Means Playable: Unlocking the Motu, Resheph, Nahar, Elder Dragon and Dragon Lich Gyro Codes require you to defeat the monster first.
  • Degraded Boss: The very first monsters in the Stone Gigas and Ant families encountered by you are, respectively, the Titan (which has a modified moveset) and the Daemon Bug (which is exactly identical to a Drone Ant save for name), the first two bosses in the game, before monsters of these families make their proper debut in the second level. The Paleofungus zigzags this: they first appear in the sixth level, but you are supposed to let a wild Mantis Devil kill them instead of fighting them directly; then a single Paleofungus (which must be fought this time) is the boss of the 9th level, and finally in The Four they become normal enemies.
  • Discard and Draw: Compared to the previous form, a monster's advanced form loses one ability and gains another.
  • Eastern RPG: The RPG aspects of the game lean more this way than to the other. In particular, the way you wander around a map, meet monsters, and zoom in for a battle is reminiscent of other Square Enix games.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: To a degree. A monster's colour doesn't determine whether or not it beats its opponent (that's up to players), but it can give it a head start. For example, a blue monster (associated with water) is advantaged against a red monster (associated with fire), which is in turn advantaged against a green monster (associated with plants). There isn't perfect symmetry, though - for example, nothing is advantaged against purple (darkness).
  • Enchanted Forest: The setting, Aldemona Wood, is controlled by a powerful being called the Lord of the Wood, and at times, has the ability to close itself off to the outside world, preventing anyone from entering or leaving.
  • Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Naturally enough, given that the puzzle aspect is an implementation of the developer's Bejeweled series. There's no stated reason in the plot as to why jewels are important in-game, though.
  • Fake Longevity: Players automatically return to the mission select screen after completing an objective for a given stage, even if you've left some things unfinished (which is sometimes unavoidable). Stages reset when you leave them, so anyone wanting 100% completion has to restart each stage from scratch after having beaten its main objective.
  • Famed In-Story: The protagonist, Rivel Arday, is well-known, and the enemy have a healthy respect of his abilities as a mage. In fact, even after they've gotten the drop on him by going after Laska instead, Jeana is doubtful that they could do anything to make him stay dead.
  • Forest Ranger: Laska Terrado, who is assigned to help the mage Rivel track down a group of rogue knights in Aldemona Wood.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: In your first encounter with him, Deno has the Flee ability, which, once fully charged, will end the battle immediately and force you to chase after him.
  • Glass Cannon: The basic dragons (Red Wyrm, Lava Wyrm, Wyvern) are capable of enormous amounts of damage, but have some of the least HP on the roster. They tend to underperform in longer battles where even a few enemy attacks slipping through will knock them out.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: After trouncing Deno with the giant monster of your choice, he proceeds to kill Laska anyway (she gets better) and make his escape.
  • Healing Factor: The basic Green Arum has Chlorophyl, which increases its own vitality (in other words, causes it to regenerate HP). Paleofungi has Hypha, a stronger version that also creates stones. The Wolflord has the more straightforward Mend Flesh, which simply heals himself.
  • Infinity +1 Element: Purple beasts have no weaknesses and are strong against four other elements. This is bad news when you have to fight against one, while on your team, they're balanced by how their attacks tend to freeze or lock gems on the board, possibly to the point of losing the battle.
  • Interface Screw: Some of the end-stage enemies have an ability which reverses the direction in which players can rotate gems. By that point, you're probably solving simple patterns of gems more on instinct than conscious thought, so having it all upended can cause blunders. (There's also a usable item which does the same thing, but that's only for a single twist, so you can't become habituated to it.)
  • Level Grinding: You're going to have to do considerably more than just chase the objectives if you want to get to the end. Stages refresh themselves when you leave, so you can fight the same monsters repeatedly.
  • Magic Knight: Qraist Kingsley, leader of the Temperence rebel knights, is quite a skilled mage, which is noted as being unusual for a knight. Magic is actually central to his plans, but he needs more power - that, not flight from the king's authority, is his main reason for being in Aldemona Wood.
  • Match-Three Game: As in Bejeweled, by the same developer.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Gigas family and Motu. Both have huge numbers of HP and rely on a small number of slow-charging but very strong attack gems.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Your attack gems need to be matched or destroyed by another of your attack gems to activate, while enemy attack gems count down when spawned and activate when the timer runs out. This especially comes into play with monsters that utilise locks, which are very annoying to play, whether as player-controlled or enemy monster.
  • Older Than They Look: The protagonist, Rivel Arday, looks like a fairly young man, but as The Archmage, he's actually at least a hundred years old. Some people believe he's immortal.
  • One-Hit Kill: If you let a Lifetaker's Soulsteal gem activate, you can say goodbye to your monster; thankfully it has a long countdown.
  • One-Winged Angel: Everett transforms into a monstrous form with stronger abilities after having been defeated for the first time.
  • Percent Damage Attack: Mightcrushers' Compress cuts down its victim's health in half once activated.
  • Power Copying: The Cait Sith family's Mimic copies the first ability of the enemy monster. It gives you access to normally inaccessible moves that you want, like the Lifetaker's Soulsteal, or boss abilities.
  • Power Nullifier: The Talos' Petromagick skill automatically targets an enemy attack gem and turns it into a useless stone.
  • Power Up Letdown: The Breakthrough form of the Talos, Dullahan, is a complete letdown. It replaces the Talos' very useful Petromagick with Great Wall, which creates 3 stones and increases defence greatly. There is nothing you can do with those stones, they just hinder your play, and the defence boost is simply not worth it compared to Petromagick.
  • Random Number God: The schtick of the Bocker family. The explosions of Blaster and Detonator are randomly placed, while Camouflage and Confusion change monster affinity, but it's also random, so it's hard to strategise around them.
  • Recurring Boss: Jeana and Deno are encountered twice as bosses (the former in stages 2 and 5, the latter in stages 4 and 8). Their movesets in the second fight are largely similar to the ones in the first fight, though obviously more powerful.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: In the sixth stage, your main path is blocked by both barriers and level 50 Paleofungi, which won't step aside for you and are too strong for your monsters to tackle. The catch here is to open a barrier to release a Mantis Devil, then open more barriers to give it passage, so it can kill the Paleofungi blocking the path for you. Near the end, the Mantis Devil will move out of the way, allowing you to proceed to the end.
  • Super Boss: The Scion and Dragon Lord, the main bosses of the bonus levels The Four and Dragon's Haven, are the strongest monsters in the game.
  • Super Mode: Breakthrough temporarily transforms your beasts into ultimate forms that last for only one battle.
  • Time Bomb: Enemy attack gems function as this. They have a countdown which progresses every time players make a move, and if they reach zero before being cleared from the board, they activate and damage the player's monster (and usually something else as well).
  • Turns Red: Paintraders have the Payback attack, which deals damage depending on its missing HP, so it gets more dangerous as the Paintrader's HP depletes.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Centipedes, Mantis Devils, Paleofungi, Paintraders, Soulshavers, Lifetakers, Mightcrushers and all boss monsters appear exclusively as enemies and cannot be used by you.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Temperence, the band of rebel knights which Rivel is sent after, describes itself as opposed to inequality and oppression in the Kingdom of Yshmea. Jeana in particular has a lot to say on the subject. They're not necessarily wrong on that point.
  • Whatevermancy: The title, naturally. The "gyro" presumably refers to the twisting mechanic of the game's puzzle component, although whether and how gyromancy works in-universe isn't specified.