The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Bejeweled has become nearly ubiquitous over the years. In less than a
decade it’s gone from a tiny Flash game to something you can play on
mobile phones, consoles, and even the backs of airline seats. There’s a
good reason for its success, too. Bejeweled offers a concept
tantalizingly simple to understand – match three similarly colored gems
to remove them from a shifting playfield – yet impossible to truly
With the first full-fledged sequel in more than six years,
PopCap has taken the core concept and stretched it to its limits.
Rather than simply offer slightly prettier gems (which Bejeweled 3
does), the latest installment adds a variety of clever riffs on the
formula that change the experience in substantial ways.
eight main modes, a few of which are holdovers from previous versions.
Classic is the vanilla Bejeweled you either love or don’t; Lightning is
essentially Blitz from Bejeweled Twist, which offers a race against the
clock; and Zen is a lot like the no-pressure endless mode, with the
addition of optional relaxation cues built in.
Of the new games, I
enjoyed Butterflies and Diamond Mine the most. Once you get past
Butterfly’s cutesy name and presentation, you’ll find a challenging game
in which winged gems inch their way to the top of the screen after each
turn. If one creeps to the spider at the top of the screen before it’s
removed, the game is over. Diamond Mine has you blasting your way down
by matching gems. You have to chip away all the earth beneath a white
line before the timer counts down. As a longtime Bejeweled player, I
liked how quickly these two modes play and how challenging they can
become. If you don’t plan ahead in either game, you’ll find yourself
overrun in no time.
I wasn’t as fond of the other two main
attractions, Poker and Ice Storm, though I can see their appeal.
Matching gems to create winning hands is a clever idea, but it didn’t
keep me interested for long. Ice Storm’s rising pillars of ice create
tension, but I’d rather stick to Lightning if I want a hectic game.
Quest offers a nice tour of all the modes, giving players a reason to
sample each of them by providing challenges. Most decent players will
tear through Quest in an hour or so, but it’s a fun time – and I beat
several of the challenges by the skin of my teeth.
has become part of your evening ritual, Bejeweled 3 deserves a prominent
spot in the rotation. Core gamers may scoff at the idea of playing
something so simple, but they’d be missing out by not giving it a shot.
Sure, it’s pretty, but it’s also one of the purest, most addicting –
and, yes, challenging – games around.
Email the author Jeff Cork, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.