I just beat the Quests levels in Bejeweled 3. I think that merits a post. I picked up the world’s most popular puzzle game (500 million players!) cheaply on Xbox Arcade, having long been addicted to its Facebook and desktop Blitz incarnations. I also play its RPG-lite cousin, Puzzle Quest, and have bought Diamond Twister for at least two mobile phones. I can’t go anywhere without matching little jewels.
Bejeweled 3 feeds and nourishes my addiction. Modes of play include Zen Mode, developed with scientists to help players relax, and the Classic Mode, in which tile matches are untimed. I zipped through Quest Mode in just a couple of days. There are 40 puzzles and 11 minigames to solve, and not all of them conform to the classic Bejeweled rules of gameplay. For example, the Poker and Balance levels rely on colour matches rather than rewarding the longest chains. In the Diamond Mine, you can make hundreds of matches and end up scoring zero because you were at the wrong end of the board. Some of the modes are locked up from the beginning, so the more you play, the greater the rewards. There are also “badges” – in-game achievements – for various feats, and the display after you beat the whole Quest Mode dwarfs anything Peggle had to offer. Continue reading
There comes a point to most people in their 30s where you just don’t enjoy getting drunk any more. Sometimes it comes earlier, but really by the age of 25 you’re either winding down your youthful excesses, or you’ve made the decision to do it properly and drink yourself to death.
For those of us who do look forward to chasing brats off our lawn with a stick, we’re still stuck with the problem that we can’t really cope with most days. That’s not to say that we’re shrieking, gibbering basket-cases, but that our brains take one look at the world outside and then curl into a shivering ball like a terrified hedgehog. What can you do when you can’t just crack open a bottle of wine and glug until you fall asleep?
I’ve been hooked on PopCap’s Bejeweled Blitz since the gem-swapping game turned up as an application on Facebook a couple of years back.
Now they’ve finally released it as a full retail game, and though I wouldn’t normally dream of purchasing a game based on a Facebook app, one hour of the demo persuaded me to instantly reach for my PayPal. It’s essentially a refined version of Bejeweled 2 that improves on every aspect of the previous matching games and like the best PopCap games – Zuma, Plants vs Zombies and Peggle – just turns the fun up to eleven.
The main difference with the retail version is that it sits in windowed mode, logged into Facebook, allowing you to continue to compete against your friends while having other pages open in the background (handy if you like to have an Echofon Twitter feed flashing up at the bottom of your screen when you’re online).
The music is great – cheesy electro-disco – and adds to the game in the same way that the Medieval-style noodlings on Puzzle Quest really add to the atmosphere. However, it doesn’t try to add any plot or other “hook” to the game, and sticks to just the core mechanic, which is “third time lucky” as far as I’m concerned since I never really got into Bejeweled or Bejeweled 2 the way everybody else did.
About the only really distinctive feature is the Badges system of achievement points – earn them for completing five games without using the Hint button, for example – in addition to the Facebook app’s Last Hurrah points-boost and other power-ups.
If you liked any of PopCap’s other games, definitely try the demo. If you want a final answer to the “is implementation more important than ideas” question, it really is a must.