Game Over Online ~ Bejeweled

GameOver Game Reviews - Bejeweled (c) Astraware Ltd., Reviewed by - Pseudo Nim

Game & Publisher Bejeweled (c) Astraware Ltd.
System Requirements PalmOS 3.0, Palm III (colour optional)
Overall Rating 90%
Date Published Saturday, June 30th, 2001 at 05:00 AM

Divider Left By: Pseudo Nim Divider Right

Addictiveness is a very important factor for a hand-held game. After all, the proponents of safe play will make you believe that the purpose of a game on a hand-held computer is to "kill a minute" while waiting for a bus, while between meetings, or while waiting for a plane somewhere. Listen to me: that is utter BS. A *true* palmtop game should have you miss your bus, be late for your meeting, and be on the "last call for boarding" for your plane. It should have you miss your stop while on the subway, and should have you bumping into people when you're walking along the street, just because it is so addictive that you can't stop playing it.

Bejeweled is that game. To date, few games, even on the PC, have so addicted me that I fit into just about every category above. I have played over two hundred games of Bejeweled, and I have gotten everybody at work hooked on it, too. In fact, I have not met anybody yet who I was unable to get hooked on it. It's really that addictive.

What is the premise of the game? Fairly simple. All you do is you have to make rows of 3 equal-type jewels (or more, if you can), and as the rows drop, they may either form combinations of 3 themselves, causing a domino effect, or at least they form other layouts that you can then play with to generate more combos of 3 or more. You can only build vertically or horizontally (not diagonally), and you do so by swapping adjacent jewels, and since you can only swap jewels so as to form a triplet, the game won't let you swap arbitrary ones - only the ones that will cause something to happen. There are seven types of jewels in total.

The game has two modes: an "easy", where you leisurely drag jewels around and attempt to get to as high a score as possible without running out of moves (yes, that's a fairly likely possibility). There is a bonus meter at the bottom of the screen, and when you "nullify" a sufficient number of jewels, a "bonus" is executed: a random number of random jewels disappear off the screen. This "bonus" can be a double-edged sword, depeding on your situation: if you have a couple of "backup" moves for cases of extreme duress, it will likely break them, as the jewels making up the backups will probably disappear. Also, if you were setting up a beautiful 6-jewel combo, it'll probably be broken as well. On the other hand, if you were within a move or two from running out of moves, this could help quite a bit, since it shuffles the screen somewhat, possibly leading to a variety of new moves. The second mode, a more hardcore version of the game called "Timed", runs on a timer which, as you gain more points, decreases incrementally faster. The only way to gain time is via setting up jewel combos, and again, the higher your score is, the more difficult it is: around the 8,000 - 10,000 mark, a single triplet won't even win you the amount of time it took to drag one of the jewels, you absolutely MUST survive on combos. In this mode, running out of moves is actually a good idea, because your entire screen clears and a new set of jewels is dropped in, often causing one or more combos to disappear in a domino effect.

There are two versions of Bejeweled: a colour and a greyscale one. The greyscale one is perfectly good, though I must admit that the colour one makes the game significantly easier, as you look for jewels by colour, rather than by shape/shading. But this isn't really an issue, for two reasons: first of all, the game is perfectly playable in either mode, and second, I wouldn't go as far as saying "buy a colour Palm device just for this game", as few people would take that seriously. That said, a word of warning: do put a screen protector on your Palm, don't make the same mistake I did (i.e. saying "hey, I'm sure just one more game won't make my screen have a weird checkerboard pattern scratched with the pen"). It will.

[ 10/10 ] Addictiveness
[ 14/15 ] Gameplay
[ 11/15 ] Graphics
[ 09/10 ] Interface/controls
[ 09/10 ] Program size
[ N/A ] Sound
[ 05/05 ] Discreetness
[ N/A ] Multiplayer
[ 14/15 ] Learning Curve


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