Angry Bison's Gemnastix, also available for iOS, is a match-3 (well, match-2 or more, really) arcade-style puzzle game with a twist. You're still matching gems up in groups of two or more identical colours, but the screen is divided in two halves, and you have to move gems from one side to the other to make your matches... trying to make a match only on the right or left side won't work! Sound easy? Well.... it's not that simple. Though it only has one gameplay mode, with power-ups to earn and a high-score based system that will keep you matching to unlock them, Gemnastix is a fun variant on a beloved genre with an easy to pick up yet hard to put down presentation.
For a match to count, both gems that swap places need to result in a match where they land... so if only one gem makes a pair or more where it lands and the other doesn't, the move is invalid. When matched gems are removed, more will fall to fill up the space, but unlike other match-3 games, only those with a match that lands within the marked places from the previous match. Sound complicated? It isn't, it's just tricky. The timer is constantly ticking down, though making matches refills it, and as your score climbs, the game will periodically raise the difficulty to boot by adding more gem types. Once you get the hang of things, it's easy to find yourself playing over and over to beat your highscore, though needing to grind points to unlock the upgrades can be tedious since they require so many "experience points" in the form of your cumulative scores... maybe they should have been unlocked by reaching certain levels instead? Still, despite that minor annoyance and the fact that additional modes would not have been remiss (puzzle or zen, anyone?), Gemnastix is proof one little tweak can make something familiar challenging in a new way.
Level 8, 45737 points/xp. Fun!
If this game didn't have a timer, I don't think I'd ever stop playing.
Ditto JCS -- a 'relaxed mode' would be conducive to a lot more play. It's a unique game that kind of twists the brain; not all of us think this way and the timer takes the fun out of it 'cause losing early is inevitable.
I've been playing with the sound off, to mitigate the tension of the life level bar sound effects. It makes it a lot more relaxing. But tonight, there's something wrong with the sound controls: the sound itself is bizarre, and there's no way to shut the game sound off at all.