Bejeweled is probably the game that comes to mind when you think about match-3 games (assuming, of course, that you ever think about match-3 games). The screen is full of gems of various colors, and your job is to swap adjacent gems to form matching lines of three or more. This makes those gems disappear and new ones fall into their place. If you’re clever, you can engineer combos that give you lots of points and create explosive gems. Of course, Bejeweled has been on the App Store for a long time now. So what’s all the fuss about this new Bejeweled?
First off, the old Bejeweled game is gone. It’s been replaced by this new, slicker version. They’ve also released a freemium version of the game called Bejweled Blitz. If you want to get a taste of the Bejeweled experience without paying a buck, download that first.
The new standard Bejeweled comes with three modes: Classic, Diamond Mine, and Zen. Classic is what we described earlier: an addictive, great-looking traditional match-3 game. There’s no timer, and you keep going until you run out of matches, so game sessions can last for quite a while. The Diamond Mine mode takes Classic’s gameplay and adds a timer and a dirt floor to the game board. If you make matches near the dirt, squares of the ground will disappear along with the matched gems. Digging down adds seconds to your timer, and also lets you grab items buried in the dirt that give you extra points. This mode is a lot of fun, and is perfect for short play sessions.
Burn it up.
Zen Mode is a hippie’s paradise. Here, the gameplay is identical to Classic mode, but the focus is on relaxation. You can choose a backdrop of ambient sounds, like ocean waves or crickets chirping. You can have the game display positive phrases onscreen, like ‘I have the power to realize my goals.’ There’s even a breathing modulation option, which helps you even out your breathing to relax your body and relieve stress. It really does help you chill out, and we applaud PopCap for thinking outside of the box like this.
The biggest drawback is that the game doesn’t have online leaderboards. This seems like an obvious feature to include for a high score game like Bejeweled, so we’re not sure why they omitted them. Instead of online leaderboards, they give you offline ones with fake names and rounded off scores. Also, we’re sure people who bought the older version of Bejeweled won’t be happy about having to pay to download this one. But this one includes graphical improvements and new modes, and it’s only a buck. So let’s keep it in perspective.
Bejeweled is one of those timeless games that’s built on a rock-solid foundation of fun gameplay and appeals to casual and serious gamers alike. The three modes included here are all well-designed offerings, each with a very different feel from the others. Whether you own another version of Bejeweled for iOS or not, this is a solid buy.