Bejeweled 2

Bejeweled 2.  The sequel to the original Bejeweled. Was Bejeweled a popular and addictive game? Let’s just say that one night I physically had to pull the plug out of my ex-girlfriend’s computer to get her to stop playing it (and in case you are wondering, no, that isn’t why she is my ex-girlfriend now – but it was close).

Bejeweled, like a lot of puzzle games, won fans for its simplicity. You could pick it up and play it in seconds. It offered a more gentle pace of gaming. Instead of frantically rushing against the clock, Tetris-style, nothing happened until you made a move, meaning you were rewarded for sitting back, taking your time and carefully considering your next step. I can’t believe I’m now about to explain how Bejeweled works, but there may be some of you out there who have never played it. I find it hard to believe, but anyway, here goes.

Your screen is filled with an 8×8 grid, which in turn is filled with different coloured gems. Unlike Tetris, the grid is always filled. All you have to do each turn is to select one gem, and swap it either upwards, downwards or sideways (but no diagonals) with an adjacent gem. The only other condition is that each move has to form a row of three or more of the same gems, horizontally or vertically, but again, no diagonals (in fact, completely forget about diagonals; Bejeweled scorns them). Once your line of three or more gems is created, they shatter, scoring you points, and allowing all the pieces above them to drop down and fill the gap, with new pieces coming in from the top to ensure the board is always full. Should three more fall into line, they shatter, and a combo is born. Score enough points and you move on to another level. If at any point there is no move you can make which will form three or more in a row, it’s game over.

Bejeweled 2 takes this idea and goes in a number of different directions with it. In the ‘Classic’ mode, at first you’d be mistaken for thinking you were still playing the first game. However, line up four gems instead of three and you get three shattered gems and one power gem. This extra-shiny gem glints menacingly until you line it up alongside two other gems of the same colour, whereupon it explodes spectacularly and takes out all adjacent gems in a flurry of points.  Line up five gems and you get yourself a hypercube. Swap the hypercube with an adjacent gem, and in an inFamous-style blast of lightning, it destroys all the cubes of the same colour on the screen.

‘Action’ mode offers you the same exact game, but in this mode there is a timer bar which counts down, and scoring points makes it go back up. Fill the bar right to the top and you’re on to the next level. I’m sure you can figure out what happens if you let it empty completely.

‘Endless’ mode is, quite simply, for people with nothing else to do – for the rest of their days. In this mode the game makes sure you ALWAYS have a move to play, so you can never lose. I imagine the online scoreboards for this mode very closely resemble a top ten of the world’s most patient people.

‘Puzzle’ mode offers an interesting challenge, serving up 80 preset puzzles where rather than collect points, you must destroy everything on the level, including rocks, which need to be destroyed by using exploding power gems or swapped with hypercubes. It’s pretty tough, but a problem I found with it is that on screen at all times is a huge picture of the Triangle button with the word “HINT” displayed by it. Whenever I got stuck it was just too tempting to have the game show me what to do, which somewhat defeated the point.

Playing the different modes also unlocks some other modes, such as ‘Twilight’ mode. In this mode pieces fill in from the top and the bottom (depending on where you clear them from), and there are three other modes to unlock with similar gameplay twists.







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