'Bejeweled 3' Try Bejeweled 3's demo first and see if you like its new modes. You'll know pretty quickly if it's recapturing the original's 'one more game' feeling

Try "Bejeweled 3's" demo first and see if you like its new modes. You'll know pretty quickly if it's recapturing the original's "one more game" feeling


If you've played games in the past eight years or so, be it on a phone, console or PC, you've probably run across "Bejeweled" in some form.

The series has derived huge success from its beautifully simple and yet super-addicting mechanic of swapping adjacent gems to form sets of three or more. PopCap Games didn't risk the core mechanic of the game when it came time to build a sequel, so "Bejeweled 2" simply added new modes that worked with the same gameplay in slightly different degrees.

It comes as no surprise, then, that "Bejeweled 3" continues in this same vein.

Upon first entering the game, you are given access to four play modes: Classic, Lightning, Zen and Quest modes. Classic is the traditional mode where the game only ends when there are no possible matches. Zen mode is almost exactly the same as Classic; its only gimmick is adding in soothing effects such as "inspirational messages" that appear in the game and "ambient sounds" to relax you as you match gems. I'm not sure if anyone plays "Bejeweled" as a form of meditation, but if there are, Zen mode is there for them; otherwise it's more or less a filler mode.

My favorite of the main modes is Lightning, which puts the basic game play against a one minute timer. This mechanic has already proved madly successful in PopCap's Facebook entry, "Bejeweled Blitz," and Lightning takes the idea even further with time gems. As you create matches, special time gems appear that, if matched, fill a time bar to the left of the game board to a certain amount of seconds. Time accumulated by matching this way will refill the timer when it runs out while also increasing your multiplier. The result is a game that can last more than three minutes and becomes more and more intense with each multiplier increase. The pressure forces you to be quick, but also thoughtful in lining up gems, since the reward for larger matches is great.

Quest mode is a mashup of different "Bejeweled" modes tied to a progression over five different areas.

In each area you restore an artifact by completing up to eight offered challenges; completing four will be enough to advance to the next area, while eight fully restores the artifact (full restoration offers nothing but satisfaction for completionists). Each challenge in an area offers a different variation of the game, adding a slight tweak to the normal game play.

Finding lasting appeal of "Bejeweled 3" requires that one of the eight main modes will hook you.

If you become addicted to getting the best Lightning score there is, or just can't get enough of playing it, then "Bejeweled 3" will be more than worth your money. There are a few other attempts, such as badges that you earn from hitting score milestones in the different modes, to add replay value to the game, but they feel disconnected from the rest of the game and do not serve as huge motivators. Adding to this is the fact that the main mode of "Bejeweled" is easily found in one of hundreds of free online clones, and Zen mode is just that with some soothing music in the background.

Try "Bejeweled 3's" demo first and see if one of the other modes impresses you -- you'll know pretty quickly if it's recapturing the original's "one more game" feeling.

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