Review: Bejeweled 3 (XBLA)

Review: Bejeweled 3 (XBLA)

Bejeweled has been around for a decade now, and I know of very few people who are not yet familiar with this casual staple. Even my mother, who writes Facebook comments like she’s writing an email (“Hi Christopher. I agree, your beard is totally fantastic, and Smallville ISN’T a valid representation of Superman. Love, mom.”), has heard tentatively of Bejeweled. Bejeweled 3, the latest in the series that includes Bejeweled (across multiple platforms at various dates), Bejeweled Deluxe, Bejeweled Twist, Bejeweled Blitz, Bejeweled 2, and Bejeweled 2 Deluxe, has now been released. What more can you really bring to Bejeweled that would necessitate yet another release?

Quite a lot, it would seem.

Bejeweled 3 ups the ante by providing eight game modes with badges, unlockables, new gems, and more. Three game modes are available at the start: Classic, Zen, and Quest. Playing through these three modes will occasionally result in the remaining five modes (Lightning, Butterflies, Diamond Mine, Ice Storm, and Poker) being unlocked.

Classic mode is your classic game of Bejeweled. This is the mode that most people are familiar with, and it has not been tampered with. You match your way through the grid until you fill the bar, and move on to the next grid. It’s a classic for a reason. Zen mode is incredibly relaxing, with ambient noise backgrounds, soothing music, and even breathing modulation to bring the player’s breathing rate down to a relaxing level. With its endless gameplay that is saved whenever you quit, Zen mode is a great way to destress and kill time. Quest mode provides 40 challenges split up over 5 sections. Your goal is to rebuilt five artifacts by beating 8 puzzles for each artifact. There are various puzzle types in Quest mode, including four of the five unlockable game modes (all except Lightning).

Lightning mode is essentially Bejeweled Blitz thrown in to Bejeweled 3. Butterflies has special butterfly shaped gems (with no purpose other than being butterflies) that you must prevent from reaching the giant spider waiting at the top of the grid. With each turn, the butterflies move up by one row. You must continue to clear lower gems to drop them down. Diamond Mine starts you off with a grid that needs some cleaning. The bottom few rows are covered in dirt. Clearing gems attached to the dirt will dig away some of the dirt and add 30 seconds to the 90 second clock. Clearing away all of the dirt in one move will result in 90 seconds being added to the clock. Once all of the dirt is cleared, the grid adjusts so that more dirt is shown. Ice Storm has columns of ice starting at the bottom of the grid and gradually working their way up to the top. Clearing gems horizontally within columns that have ice will drop the ice by one gem’s distance, while clearing vertically within columns with ice will drop the ice column completely. Once two ice columns have reached the top, it’s game over. Finally, there’s Poker. You have five matches to build a hand with, which will then be scored. You can build flushes, full houses, two pair, etc.

On top of 8 game modes, there are 8 special gems: normal, flame, star, hyper cube, supernova, time, bomb, and butterfly. The gems range in ability from…well, none aside from matching, to clearing out the entire grid of all gems, and a few things in between.

At 1200MSP / $14.99, there are those who may think that Bejeweled 3 is not worth paying for, especially when other versions of Bejeweled can be had for cheaper. To those, I would say that this is probably the most comprehensive version of Bejeweled to date, and the best one for a person to buy. Zen Mode alone is fantastic for being able to put me to sleep after a stressful day. Just…keep the creepy announcer voice dude away from me while I try to knock out.

Review

ProsCons
Improved controls from Blitz
Lots of variety and unlockable content
Relaxing Zen mode
Some Quest objectives have unbalanced difficulty
Creepy announcer
Rating
95 out of 100
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