Bejeweled 2 is the sequel to the smash hit of the same name. The Bejeweled series is known for some of the most addictive puzzle gameplay in the industry. Does this particular title live up to that reputation? Read on to find out!
Addictive Puzzle Action
There is something truly special about the twist Bejeweled 2 puts on match 3 style gameplay. In basic match 3 puzzle gameplay, a board of items is presented to players. The items, typically gems, may be swapped with adjacent gems, but only neighboring pieces may be swapped; jumping is not allowed. If a match is made, all of the matched items disappear, and the surrounding items fall to fill the empty space. This sounds simple enough, but there are many subtle variations of this basic idea that either work to improve the experience or detract from it.
Bejeweled 2 has smooth controls that feel responsive and natural, unlike some other matching games where it can take a few clicks to get the game to register. In addition, all seven of the gems are brilliantly colored and easy to distinguish from each other, further supporting the addictive quality of the game. Once you get started, it will be hard to shut this game down.
Crisp, Sharp Graphics
The graphics in this game suit the title beautifully. The backdrops are eye catching and unique, yet they never detract from the puzzle board itself, which is of the utmost importance with this type of puzzle. Some of the backdrops are photorealistic; others are clearly computer generated but still stunning.
The gems on the board itself are not photorealistic and are clearly computer rendered. The result is lovely, polished gems that look a lot like colorful hard candy. They are easy to match and a lot of fun to look at. The gems and backdrops come together to create a perfect game board.
4 Game Modes Equal Tons of Replay Value
The fact that this game offers 4 modes of gameplay adds a tremendous amount of value and replayability to a game that already boasts high replay value as it is. Each of the modes adds a new twist to the basic Bejeweled puzzle that will keep players interested in this title for the long haul. Modes include:
Classic Mode - This is the gameplay that started it all. Match shiny gems until there are no more moves on the board. There is no time limit, so choose wisely in order to keep from getting stuck. No moves equals game over.
Endless Mode - This is the mode to load up after a long day at the office. Nothing helps puzzle fans unwind quite like an endless supply of gem matches to be made. This mode is truly endless and could go on for hours on end. Some people go with therapy; I go with endless mode instead!
Action Mode- If players ever find themselves growing bored of the classic style game mode, action mode is the answer. In action mode, a timer bar is displayed on the bottom of the screen. The timer goes down steadily but is filled up with each successful match made on the board. Imagine trying to fill a sieve full to the brim; that's the frenetic action of this mode. Players must guard themselves against those moments of becoming blind to the board; those moments could easily cost them the game!
Puzzle Mode - Have you ever wished that the fast, random action of Bejeweled could be a little more structured and more like a puzzle than a game of chance? If so, puzzle mode was made for you! In puzzle mode, there is no time limit, but there is a definite right way to solve the board. No new pieces fill the board as these matches are made, so there are no second chances at getting it right. It takes careful thought and strategy to clear these puzzle boards. Some moves can be undone, making the puzzles a little easier to solve, but it still requires wisdom and patience, especially at the higher levels.
The wonderful thing about all of the above modes is that players have the option to play the game exactly how they like it. There is no need to play all 4 modes, though most players will find their favorite mode and stick with it most of the time, playing the others for variation when needed. The wise addition of these game modes means that it's practically impossible to get sick of Bejeweled 2.
Power Ups Reward Skillful Players
In Bejeweled 2, players earn exciting power ups for making sweet moves. Managing to match 4 gems will create a Power Gem. Power Gems are the same color as the match that created them, and they explode when activated. In games, explosions are always fun, and Bejeweled 2 is no exception. Matching 5 gems creates the almighty Hyper Cube, which clears a color from the board entirely. The masterful use of both of these power ups will elevate a player's high score to the next level. An awesome addition to the game!
Poor Voice Quality
The male voice in Bejeweled 2 sounds like he was recorded in a cave or box instead of a sound booth. When saying "excellent" it sounds more like "insolent", which is amusing at first but gets grating over time. The gem and board sound effects are crisp and clear though, and that matters much more than the voice.
The music in Bejeweled 2 is a little cheesy at times and has a flavor reminiscent of old arcade games. The music manages to not be too distracting during gameplay, and that's what really counts. It won't win an award for best videogame soundtrack any time soon, though.
Conclusion - A Must Have For Match 3 and Puzzle Fans
Bejeweled 2 manages to surpass the original Bejeweled game in terms of overall appeal, graphics and replay value. This game was crafted with a lot of thought to longevity, and the game really benefits from it. Some games are purchased to be fun today but forgotten tomorrow. This is not the case with Bejeweled 2; players will find themselves enjoying this title for a long time to come. A must have for any game collection!
Review by Alice Flynn
Alice Flynn is a gaming enthusiast and journalist from Los Angeles, CA. She is currently obsessed with obscure foreign dramas, making tofu taste edible and the latest, greatest computer games.
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