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If, like me you are a fan of wordgames, puzzle games, and the new advent of Facebook games then you will potentially love the Bejewelled offering from PopCap. Note that Bejewelled can be played for free online at Popcap's excellent website and is also handily available as a free 30-day trial for those of us that fancy a blast before committing to purchase. Get yourself over to PopCap.com to take advantage of this. Also note that it's available for pretty much all platforms. Personally, I will be downloading it before popping on holiday so that I have something to do for a bit of relaxation.
Upon firing up Bejewelled you will note the similarity to Tetris. You are faced with a grid, containing various brightly coloured jewels. The concept is incredibly simple. Each jewel can be swapped with an adjacent jewel, horizontally or vertically, as long as the swap results in a line of 3 or more jewels of the same colour. Upon matching 3 or more jewels, they then explode off the screen and you earn points. The larger the number of matching jewels, the more points you earn. Jewels drop down the grid as ones below are eliminated thus filling the empty spaces, and new gems drop down from the top. Rather than trying to clear the grid tetris style, your goal is to gain enough points to increase your points and gain access to higher levels. Trust me, it is fantastically addictive. I know several people that play this game nightly!
Without wishing to stereotype, this is very much a housewifey type game.
That's the basics covered, but then comes the strategy. By using your initiative you can maximise your jewel swaps so that a match will eliminate jewels over different directions, or such that as jewels drop you will have a reasonable idea as to your next turn. By following a good strategy it is possible to trigger a 'cascade' effect whereby jewels are eliminated each time they drop down the grid. You are rewarded for stylish eliminations with glossy jewels that have different effects such as larger explosions or the removal of all jewels of a certain colour. The sinister voice-over will give an encouraging 'good', or 'incredible' if you are lucky during whopping cascades.
Without wishing to stereotype, this is very much a housewifey type game. It's something that can completely take your mind off of what you are doing temporarily, providing instant fun, without having to invest a huge amount of effort.
Children from four up will revel at the chance of some jewelry fun.
One could ask we would cover such a game in this day and age given the fantastic blu-ray offerings available. But as the Wii has shown, you don't have to be best technologically in order to defeat the competition. These types of games are thriving like never before online, largely thanks to the advent of facebook. Fortunately, Popcap have astutely made the time attack version of this game available via facebook. In time-attach mode the gamer gets a minute to score as much as possible. The difference is that friends highest scores are visible, and one can also nark them by sending 'Smack Talk'. Although I was too scared of repercussions to try that.
Although the facebook version is incredibly popular, serious puzzlers will be put off by the 'luck' factor involved. Your game is very much dictated by the board you start off, or the luck of the draw as new ones appear. For this particular reviewer, it's still a thumbs up, but would like to see the introduction of a head to head mode, or some glossy characters. Well worth noting that children from four up will revel at the chance of some jewelry fun.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: