Game Review: Bejeweled 3
Does matching three gems ever get old? Evidently not, as the third title in Popcap’s smash-hit series is still quite fun. I managed to get my hands on a copy of the Nintendo DS version- it’s a fun puzzler that belongs in everybody’s library.
In case you’ve been living under a digital rock, here’s an explanation of Bejeweled: You’re presented with a board full of gems, and your goal is to match three or more gems, causing them to vanish for no real reason (aside from raising your score). Continue doing this and you’ll eventually move onto the next level, so on and so forth until you run out of possible matches. This is pretty much the game’s main mode- there are a few others, however. My favorite is definitely the timed mode, though there’s another that comes close. It involves gems that are butterflies. You see, these gems will continue to move close and closer to the top of the screen with every move you make. If they make it there, they’ll be consumed by a spider on the top screen of your DS (or in my case, 3DS). I thought it was a really imaginative use of the game’s hardware, and as you may imagine, it was fun to play. It’s one of the four modes you can unlock- the other three are poker, diamond mine, and ice storm, the last requiring you to push down an inexorably ricing wall of ice with vertical combos.
If you’re in something of a calmer mood, you may want to just enjoy zen mode- it’s the least frantic part of the game. If you’re in a somewhat more adventurous mood, there’s the game’s quest mode, which is made up of several little variations of Bejeweled. As you complete each challenge, you’ll move onto another tier of minigames, which are mostly the same as previous set of minigames, except the threshold for advancing continues growing higher and higher.
Visually, the game’s pretty good- since you’ll spend most of your time staring at the bottom screen, the top probably won’t fetch your attention to often. Sometimes if you give it a glance, though, you’ll notice a nice background background. If you’re wise enough to look back down before the timer runs out, you’ll see a whole bunch of rather good looking gems- combining more than three produces some lovely special effects, and if you get six in a row (extremely difficult) you’ll be treated to quite a lightshow. For the most part, it’s a pretty good looking game, and even on a 3DS, the visuals don’t seem particularly pixelated in spite of the larger screen. As far as sound goes, I honestly didn’t run into any particularly memorable music or sound effects. What the game had was undeniably good, but not particularly special.
Overall, Bejeweled 3 is a pretty good puzzle game and belongs right next to Tetris in your game library. This entry in the series boasts a slew of modes and minigames- it definitely satisfies. While it doesn’t really break much new ground in the “Connect Three” puzzling genre, the aforementioned minigames (and, naturally, the classic and timed modes) keep the game playable into the late hours of the night… And the wee hours of the morn. And probably long past that. If you enjoy puzzlers of this sort, you’ll definitely enjoy Bejeweled 3.