GAME NAME: Bejeweled 3
DEVELOPER(S): Popcap Games
PUBLISHER(S): Microsoft Studios
PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360
RELEASE DATE(S): 19 October 2011
Bejeweled 3 is a tile-matching puzzle game that was developed and published by Popcap Games, the guys behind the massively popular Plants vs. Zombies. If you are not familiar with the series the core gameplay is very straightforward. You are presented with an area about half the size of your TV in which you will find plenty of differently shaped and coloured gems. Your job is to align a minimum of three gems of the same colour in a row either vertically or horizontally. Once you have aligned three gems they will disappear and new gems will take their place by falling in from the top of the screen. Sounds simple right?
Wrong. This game is anything but simple, it is a high-definition brainteaser that will push your frontal lobe to its limits. Bejeweled 3 is broken into 8 different sections, the first being the classic mode. This mode has you playing the basics of the game where you just have to align as many gems together as you can while earning points that fill up a bar at the button of the screen. When the bar is full the level is over. The next mode is called Lightning and it uses the same principal as classic but has a time limit that can only be replenished by aligning certain time gems. This mode is more stressful than hand-feeding Great White sharks but when you do manage to get it right it is very satisfying.
The other two modes are Quest and Zen. Quest is a level based version of the classic mode whereas Zen is a little different. In Zen mode you get to pick what type of background sounds you want to listen to, like the ocean or the rain falling, and it then asks you to breath in and out while following a prompt on the screen. Think of it as a relaxing spa for your brain. It is actually very soothing and is a good follow-up to an intense Lightning session. The other four modes you have to unlock by achieving certain milestones in the game and feature the game’s take on poker or a butterfly mode that has you trying to stop little butterflies from being eaten by a spider at the top of the screen.
You will quickly find out after testing a few different modes that Bejeweled 3 is pure crack for the brain. It is incredibly addictive and brilliant in its simple design. The game is presented in crisp HD, with wonderfully animated fantasy-themed backgrounds and music that builds up as the intensity of the game increases. The package is full of almost endless re-playability and ranks up there as one of the best puzzle games ever. It will certainly be interesting to see how Popcap plan on topping this. Make sure you have nothing planned before playing this game because its a productivity killer, in the best kind of way.