Gel: Set & Match Review
Gel: Set & Match box art
System: X360 (XBLA) Review Rating Legend
Dev: Gastronaut Studios 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Gastronaut Studios 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: May 20, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Melt Away
by Maria Montoro

After all the fun I’ve been having with Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, Jewel Quest, and the like, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to add another puzzler to my XBLA collection! Gel: Set & Match definitely looks like a solid addition to a puzzle lover’s library, and it does deliver as promised, but it’s indeed a challenge not all puzzle fans might be willing to overcome. You’ve been warned: be ready to bust your brain with intense gel-melting action!

Gel: Set & Match screenshot

The game has a few different modes: Puzzle, Action, and Xbox LIVE co-op play and multiplayer versus Battle. They all have the same basics as far as matching jelly blocks and performing combos and chains. Just match four or more blocks of the same color and they’ll melt. Some blocks can be lifted and placed elsewhere, pushed, or thrown against a group of blocks, while others, the ones with the 100lb. sign, can’t be moved at all. You’ll just have to figure out ways to match them and melt them down. This requires a lot more thinking than you might anticipate, especially on puzzle mode, where you have to melt everything on the stage before moving on to the next level. Oftentimes there’ll be metallic casing and/or other similar barriers around a group of blocks you’ll have to overcome with a melting explosion right next to it.

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In order to do combos and chain reactions, you can pick up a melting block and throw it towards the next group of blocks (of the same color) to make them disappear as well, and the more matches you do in a row, the longer the chain and the more points you get. However, the main goal, at least in puzzle mode, is to solve the puzzle in as few moves at possible. Every move counts, just like in a game of golf, and you have to try to do it on par or below to achieve a higher score, collect stars, and unlock new stages. There are over 100 levels, including the special ones you get when you complete a set of levels at least on par. Without a doubt, there’s a lot of value just in Puzzle mode, but I have to admit the gameplay is somewhat challenging and won’t suit everyone’s taste, as much as they might love Tetris-style games.

Gel: Set & Match screenshot

Action mode is a lot more frenzied. While it’s not as mind-bending as the first mode, there’s still a good level of difficulty, and the further you go, the tougher it gets. There’s a bit of a story to it, as the main character is trying to help out his town. A tank is moving forward in a side-scrolling fashion, and tons of jelly blocks are laid out right in front of it. You’ll just have to move fast and do combos, melt away anything on the stage so the tank can advance freely without the hazardous handicaps. I found this mode to be much more appealing than the first one, just because I find fast-paced gameplay to be more rewarding.

Gel: Set & Match screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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