If you’ve ever lived a day in your gaming life you will have heard of Bejeweled. If you haven’t heard of Bejeweled then I suggest you go in search of the original and give it a quick go so you can appreciate just how glossed up the latest sampling is. For those that can’t be bothered clicking around I’ll provide a quick overview of the basics involved in Bejeweled game play.
Bejeweled presents to the user a board of 64 shiny, alluring jewels of different colours. At the heart of Bejewelled game play is the concept of matching three or more jewels of the same colour. To form matches you swap two jewels anywhere on the board. Two jewels can be swapped horizontally or vertically but not diagonally. Three is the minimum for a match but up to eight jewels (you’ll be very lucky) can take part. When jewels are matched they are removed from the board and jewels from above fall into place. Sometimes the new jewels when falling form another match and this can go on and on until no matches are left and the jewels settle. The colour of the new jewels that fall into the board is anyone’s guess so an element of luck comes into the game play.
The latest in t he Bejeweled series – Bejeweled 2 Deluxe comes with four modes of play namely Arcade, Puzzle, Timed and Endless. Arcade sees a player completing a series of levels, to complete a level the player must form enough matches to fill up a bar at the bottom of the screen. The larger the match the higher the bar goes. When the bar is full up it’s on to the next level. Puzzle mode is rather interesting, the emphasis is on clearing the board of all jewels, if by the end of play you are left with jewels that can’t be matched you must replay the level again. A fair amount of thought is required when playing Bejeweled 2 Deluxe in puzzle mode. Timed mode is similar to Arcade mode, except the bar at the bottom of the screen is constantly emptying and you must match enough jewels to keep it topped up! Finally endless mode does exactly what it says on the tin, no time restrictions, and no targets, there’s just you and the Bejeweled board.
You may be disappointed to hear there are only two power ups available in Bejeweled 2 Deluxe, but boy do they make up for it with their effects! Match four jewels and you are presented with a Power jewel that falls in place of the match. The power jewel has the ability to destroy a large amount of surrounding jewels and has a fairly large reach. However the more impressive of the two is the Hyper Jewel. Match five or more jewels and you are presented with a Hyper Jewel. The Hyper jewel has the power to destroy all jewels on the board of a chosen colour. When a Hyper jewel is activated a spectacular lightning effect is given off, the lightning darts around the board taking out jewels one by one. Both power ups are a sight to behold, I’d often find myself looking for four or five jewel matches just to see the effects these babies give off!
Bejeweled 2 Deluxe’s graphics are one of its defining features. From the opening screen right through to the end credits that come with mastery each four modes of play (one can dream can’t they?) they gleam with glee. The graphics offer up a display of futuristic tones that take the gamer far away from reality. For this author it got to the point where he was not sure why he was playing the game – was it for the game play or for the graphics. The opening screen’s alien like back drop sets the scene for the rest of the game, each level has as it’s background – a series of unique landscapes each having an out of this world feel to them. The gems in game are fine looking too; they are polished shiny and are often found shimmering. Hover over one with your mouse and you’ll see it bob up and down in a springy motion!
Carrying on with the futuristic theme the sounds of Bejeweled Deluxe 2 are pretty out of this world. The opening music has a sci-fi type feel to it and this kind of music is used in all the game’s levels. The music has been expertly chosen so as not to get too repetitive, indeed you won’t actually pick up that it loops until you hone in on it. For once someone has given the gaming community a puzzler without ear bleeding, repetitive melodies. A sound you’ll often hear in game (if you are any good at it that is!) is the commentator’s voice. You’ll first hear this dude when you load the game up, he will either welcome you for the first time or welcome you back. Oh he also says goodbye – he’s obviously English – way too polite! Where the commentator really pipes up is during game play. Each time a match of four or more is formed he’ll pipe up with cool, come up with a sequence of matches and he’ll say it’s cool and amazing. If you find yourself playing this game at work, and your boss is giving you a hard time, load this game up, match a few jewels and the commentator will let you know everything is O-K. My only disappointment is he only ever compliments you when things are going right!
Verdict: Bejeweled Twist, if not ground breaking, ups the bench mark for Bejeweled games.
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