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Bejeweled 2 Deluxe

The first in what has now become a highly successful "casual" range by PopCap, Bejeweled is a straightforward puzzle game. That was nearly seven years ago, and since then there has been numerous variants of the "match 3" concept, including its sequel, the cunningly named Bejeweled 2.

 

I acknowledge I got off to a really bad start with this game. As soon as the installer decided to spoil my neatly organised disk drive by automatically installing to the program files folder, I was rather irritated. The initial annoyance was soon reversed once I realised what a relaxing game this can be. I was greeted with gentle, motivating music, calm views of snow capped mountains, and a soft, somewhat cute menu.

For those not familiar with the premise of Bejeweled, let me enlighten you. The gameplay involves you simply swapping one "gem" (aka jewel) with a neighbouring one. The purpose being that you line up three or more of the same type of gem. When such a chain is created, the gems vanish causing everything above to fall down, with new gems being dropped to fill the gaps. During this process, a combination of new chains may form either by chance or through careful planning, which will gain you a lovely set of bonus points and a satisfying "excellent" from the announcer.

There are the numerous game modes to try which helps keep things varied and interesting. The first being "Classic", where the goal is to simply reach a set score on increasing difficulty levels. This I enjoyed until several levels down the line, when I ran out of possible moves to make. The announcer kindly told me the fact I had "no more moves", with the consequences being you have to the do the whole process all over again. Several times I reached just beyond the third level just to fail, resulting in a complete loss of motivation to even try again. A simple fix would have been to have a checkpoint system, so you can at least restart the current level instead of having to start from scratch. I hate to think of the frustration on reaching the last level just to have to start over.

The other modes include "Action", which is essentially the same as the Classic mode, but with the points you score contributing to a timer which slowly winds down to zero, thus making things a tad more tense. "Puzzle" mode is a real brain teaser, in which the aim is to complete a preset block of gems, with a mounting difficulty of creativity required to eliminate all gems. The final mode you are given is "Endless", which is a never ending game with no final score or timer, and no risk of running out of moves. This in my opinion is by far the best element of the game, since you can sit back at your own leisure and enjoy the pleasures of what this game has to offer. There are also several other "Secret" modes to unlock, but since they are defined as being secret, I shall leave them as a surprise.

The game also features four different types of gems to keep things spicy. "Power" gems are formed by matching four in a row, which when matched up explode, smashing nearby gems and bringing in a gathering of points. "Hyper cubes", formed by matching five gems in a row, can be used to eliminate all gems of the same type on screen. "Bombs" and "Rocks" are found solely in puzzle mode. The former is a timed detonation, destroying gems in the vicinity, while the latter is a nuisance block which can only be removed by an explosion.

It's all been presented well too. The graphics are glittery, concise if somewhat basic, but it all has a nice enough feel to it. The audio is very respectable, with a superb range of gentle and captivating music, with good sound effects complimenting this. Couple all this with the Endless mode and you have a tranquil and charming game, which has calmed me down after a stressful day on endless occasions, if you can excuse the pun. It's a bit of a surprise then that the announcer's voice is a deep bellowing male, as opposed to something soothing and easy on the ear.

Other minor criticisms include a lack of options to make things a little more customisable. For starters it's not exactly that colour blind friendly. The different types of gems may have different shapes, but for me it's hard to see any difference between a brown hexagonal gem and a green octagonal gem. This creates quite a bit of strain on the eyes, and a little more care and attention would have been appreciated. There is also no way of turning off the automatic hint suggestions which pop up if you don't make a move after a short while. This is a useful feature for keeping the pace of the game going, but can be a pain if you're a purist or just want to take it at your own pace. Some sort of multiplayer would have been nice too; taking turns on a single board trying to out play each other would beat a high score table any day.

That's pretty much all the bases covered, so I shall summarise. Bejeweled 2 is the next step on from its prequel; the same "match 3" concept, but with better visuals, sound, and a host of new game modes to keep you occupied with. Whether you're looking for a casual session to unwind, or thought provoking puzzle matrimony, you could do a lot worse than poke around with this purchase. I personally found it a real struggle to get on with the actual core of the game, as I frequently felt like the game went out of its way just to aggravate rather than relax. I'm sure there will be Bejeweled maestros reading this who are screaming out that I've missed the point of this game. But by just playing the Endless mode as a means to chill out, I have found a safe haven away from the cares of the world, together with the woes of a now liberated hard drive.

8.00/10 8

Bejeweled 2 Deluxe (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

The first in what has now become a highly successful "casual" range by PopCap, Bejeweled is a straightforward puzzle game. That was nearly seven years ago, and since then there has been numerous variants of the "match 3" concept, including its sequel, the cunningly named Bejeweled 2.  

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
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COMMENTS

FatTonyBBX
FatTonyBBX - 11:36pm, 3rd April 2015

I personally always preferred the MSN version compared to the shiny pick-up studded sequel and full versions.

Reply