Posted 2 years ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
The gem-matching bonanza is back...again. That’s right, the casual-gaming geniuses at PopCap are giving one of their most important franchises another go with a third entry (not including the spin-offs). Bejeweled 3 brings back all the classic jewel-swapping gameplay that you all know and obviously love, only with a few new additions to help freshen the experience.
When you first fire Bejeweled 3 up, the new hi-res hotness will stand out immediately. Every icon, menu option and jewel sparkle and shine as they never had before. Players will have no trouble navigating around as the interface is identical to the previous games. The game sports four main modes, with each one unlocking a super-secret special one underneath. Of course, PopCap wants you to play those games, so the requisites for accessing each one doesn’t take a lot of work.
The Lightning, Zen and Classic modes are all still here, like reliable old friends awaiting your return. However, the real stars of the show are the new modes. Poker, for example, gives you a list of card hands, each with various point totals associated with it. Make different hands by matching the correct gems. Want a Full House? Make 3 matches of one color and two of another. Sounds simple, right? Yeah, well the amount of points you need to score to progress through each level increases, making the need to make bigger and better hands paramount.
Ice Storm, on the other hand, is a balancing act. Players are tasked with making a given number of red and blue matches. The trick is that as each colored match is made, it adds weight to a scale that spans each side of the play field. You can’t let either side hit the bottom, so you’ll have to be picky about what you match. Oh, and one more little caveat: there’s a time limit.
Butterflies is probably the most challenging of the new modes. It starts out at a fairly easy pace, but the difficulty does ramp up as later levels are attained. After each turn, a colored butterfly begins moving up from the bottom of the board. You need to make a match with the butterfly to set it free. If it gets to the top, the spider eats it and it’s game over.
The Quest mode is probably the most varied of the bunch. Each level is made up of eight puzzles with different game types and objectives. Poker, Butterflies, Buried Treasure, Alchemy, etc... None of them pose much of a challenge and it does keep things interesting, although I can’t say I’m inclined to keep coming back to it, especially considering that three of the types (Poker, Butterflies and Balance aka Ice Storm) are available in separate modes of their own.
I’ve spent the last few weeks with Bejeweled 3 and when it was all said and done, I kept finding myself coming back to the Classic and Zen modes. Not that there’s really anything wrong with the other options mind you. They just played more like novelties than anything else. Interesting at first but tiresome over time. The core game still trumps everything else. If you are seriously looking for a change of pace, there may be enough here to satiate your desire. But if the classic “match 3” gameplay has served you well over the last few years, some spiffy visuals may not be enough warrant yet another version of this timeless classic.
+ Tight and shiny visuals
+ New modes are pretty cool...
- Difficult to recommend a whole new game for what’s essentially the same thing you already have
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Release Date : 2010/12/07
System : PC
Publisher : PopCap Games
Developer : PopCap Games
Category : Puzzle
ESRB : E
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