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Jewel Quest: Expeditions DS Review

24/12/2008 Family Teen Gamer Review
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Jewel Quest: Expeditions DS

Jewel Quest: Expeditions



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First Person Shooters

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Jewel Quest: Expeditions is the latest in a long line of similarly styled puzzle games, now brought to the DS. With an African romp of a storyline, something largely unheard of in a puzzle game, this game could set itself apart from the multitude of other puzzle games currently doing the rounds. For the rest of us, if you skip over the snore-inducing storyline there's a decent game to be played here, one that'll keep you going for a long time.

I find puzzles games kind of fun. In some ways I like the challenge of them, the way you work at it for a long time to beat your high score or to unlock another challenge. But on the other hand, I'll usually find myself more drawn to the high octane thrills of First Person Shooters such as Call of Duty: World at War 360. Jewel quest did little to alleviate these feelings. The puzzle element grew old for me within a few levels. It's very repetitive in the nature of its gameplay - get three Jewels in a row to make them disappear, causing more to fall in from the top. Great if you like that kind of thing, but I found it became dull after a while.

I like the challenge of them, the way you work at it for a long time to beat your high score or to unlock another challenge.

The story is one of the few unique things about the game. You're an explorer who's lost his loved one, and you're searching through the African jungles for her. This story is told in static speech bubbles between each level. They are really bizarre though. One goes something like this:

Sailor: ‘I see you study the lore of the Ancient Jewel Board'
You: ‘You know of the Jewel board? We will be friends'

Whilst I was playing the game I felt absolutely no connection to my character, and the convoluted cut scenes that don't explain the story really didn't help. The scenes really just serve to interrupt you from playing the next level, as you push the next button impatiently, disregarding whatever the characters are saying.

I handed the game over to my family for a while to see what they made of it, and it was a split decision. My brother and dad were in the same camp as me. The game got too hard too quick, and they felt no urge to play on past the first few levels. After all, what was there to gain from playing it? Neither cared for the dull ‘lost-princess/African exploration' type story, and my brother would rather be playing World of Warcraft whilst my Dad could be playing Far Cry 2. So, neither of them puzzle gamers, much like me, and neither of them liked it.

My mum was a different story. She shuns most other types of games, but absolutely loves a good puzzle. She was blasting through the levels, and ended up well into act two before I could wrest the DS from her. She too found the story boring, and simply skipped past the cut scenes, wanting to get at another level. All very well and good, but I found it difficult to get the DS to play the game as she was constantly playing it!

My mum was a different story. She shuns most other types of games, but absolutely loves a good puzzle.

The lack of a fairly standard game modes is certainly ‘puzzling' (ahem) - there's no endless mode for the real fans to beat their scores. You can only play the story mode, and the score there is cumulative, meaning there's no high score for you to track. Although there are 180 levels in the story, I know a lot of people, myself included, find that beating your high score is half the fun. There is an 8 player wireless multiplayer mode, I don't know anyone else who plays the game so I couldn't really test this out.

If you have a puzzle fan in your family, this game might be a perfect Christmas present for them as they will enjoy playing through the 180 levels Jewel quest provides. On the other hand, if you're not really into puzzles there are plenty of better games you could buy that you'd enjoy much more.

Written by Rowan Brown

You can support Rowan by buying Jewel Quest: Expeditions

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Rowan Brown writes the Teen Gamer column.

"I write about my favourite games from a younger person's perspective. It's often surprising how different this ends up to other more grown up reviews."

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