Bejeweled 3

When a company like PopCap offer you a new game, you would have to be mad to turn it down. With a rich and exciting catalogue of games such as Plants vs. Zombies, Peggle and that blasted Zuma (relive my nightmare, if you dare) you can pretty much guarantee a game worthy of a few hours play at the very least. Gasp, then, at my initial response to the prospect of Bejeweled 3:

“Really? Another one?”

Needless to say for the sake of giving our trusted readers the real scoop, I’ve delved into yet another gem blasting frenzy to see what’s really up with the latest incarnation of Bejeweled.

Don’t be fooled by the number ‘3’ glaring at you from this game’s title. Technically speaking we are now up to game five of the Bejeweled franchise, if you include the Facebook version of Bejeweled Blitz as a standalone game. It’s no real surprise that a puzzle addict like me then starts to wonder how much of any further titles will be development of the game as opposed to riding the bandwagon of its popularity.

Bejeweled 3 is, very simply, other Bejeweled games with a lot of novelty and some bells on. Alongside the ‘Classic’ Mode (as if anyone actually still plays that, right?) you can now play in a multitude of additional rounds such Zen, Lightning and Quest in Standard Mode. Zen is really a rehash of Endless mode, with some supposedly soothing music to ease your aura while you play. If you ask me, the chances of me not feeling any stress while hyper cubes are exploding in front of my eyeballs is pretty unlikely, but ho hum.

Quest mode is fairly interesting and its objectives can be quite challenging. The idea is simply that eight rounds of puzzle modes have to be completed to unlock the next stage. Most of the puzzle modes can feel a little anti-climatic after a while, but there is definitely one little corker that I could see making its way to our Facebook pages soon: Bejeweled Poker. The challenge is simply to create the best possible poker hand you can. Cards are made by destroying gems, and then represent the colour of the blocks smashed. After five cards are created, your hand is judged by standard poker combinations such as two-four of a kind, Full House and a Flush. Points are awarded depending on the skill of your hand and it’s actually incredibly addictive especially when unlocked as a standalone mode in the main menu.

The most worthy mode from the entire collection, however, is the new Lightning round. I say ‘new’, as it is really Bejeweled Blitz with a few tweaks. Blitz was made during the development of Bejeweled 3 and the similarities are blatantly obvious for all to see. The challenge of scoring as many points as you can remains, however the time limit can now be increased by lining up bonus gems to receive a few precious seconds more. The more you increase the time, the more points you can score, with points multipliers awarded for achieving a ‘Blazing Speed’. Thus Lightning round is born. For a Blitz beast such as myself, it was great to get a real development on this mode for an even greater challenge.

While playing Bejewelled 3 via Xbox Live Arcade, I couldn’t help but wonder how much more fun modes such as Lightning would be on PC with the aid of a mouse. Let’s face it, valuable time for matching gems is wasted with the limited use of a controller. More importantly, I then began to wonder what kind of score I could rack up against my friends on Facebook if given the chance. I never said my gaming ethics were pretty, and the social networking site and iPhone app have given the game a great lease of life; just Google the demands for the android equivalent and you will see its popularity in play!







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