Jewel Quest 3 is a match 3 puzzle game with an underlying theme of adventure. The game kicks things into high gear from the first level, guaranteeing that players are never bored.
Professional and Polished
It's always disappointing to boot up a game only to find it lacking in those little finishing touches that set it apart from other offerings. Jewel Quest 3 has a very finished and complete feel to it that lends a polished vibe to the game.
A New Twist on the Standard Match 3 Gameplay Experience
Jewel Quest 3 has the potential to surprise even the most seasoned match 3 player, no matter how experienced they are with this genre. The game does not focus on quickly making matches or managing to match more than 3 at a time.
Instead, the game is much more puzzle based, often requiring players to complete some sort of objective in order to call the board clear and move on to the next level. These objectives range from turning tiles another color by successfully making a match on them, which is a standard issue gameplay mechanic, to some more difficult ones like maneuvering hot coals around the board in order to melt frozen puzzle pieces when puzzles are located in the colder regions of the globe.
It's a completely different mindset from the fast, frenetic, high score oriented gameplay of many other match 3 titles. Yet players must still manage their time well in order to succeed in this game since each level is timed.
More Difficult Than Other Match 3 Games
Jewel Quest 3 poses a formidable challenge. Some levels are extremely difficult due to factors that are largely out of the player's control since the pieces are generated at random, and others are challenging simply because the objective is hard to complete within the allotted time.
Players who think that match 3 games are too easy would do well to pick this title up since it has a very nice difficulty level; it's not impossible, but certainly not easy either.
Storyline is Integrated into the Game Smoothly and Naturally
When players boot up new levels and regions they are greeted by what appears to be handwritten pages from an exploration journal, complete with hand drawn illustrations of the various things the explorer had encountered when writing the entry. These pages provide short, bite sized pieces of the game's main storyline.
The game never force feeds players a load of backstory and instead encourages players to work through the game itself in order to uncover the story for themselves. This is a refreshing departure from the obligatory long cutscene at the beginning of a game.
Players who are uninterested in the storyline may feel free to skip reading; a cursory glance over the journal pages will provide enough instruction to complete the level.
The artwork in this game does not disappoint and is very well done. The backgrounds have a hand painted look to them and the graphics on the game board are top notch.
No Fanfare Makes the Game Seem Rather Cold
One of the best things about the match 3 genre is how exciting and flashy things can get. Managing to match 4 at a time results in glitzy congratulatory effects from many other games, while matching 5 or more leads to so much pomp and circumstance that it's easy to become distracted by it.
Not so with Jewel Quest 3; this game is not here to hold your hand or pat you on the back. If players match more than 3 pieces, the game isn't going to respond at all. Only accomplishing the objective is going to generate a reaction from this game.
For players that cherish the glitter, glitz and fanfare of other match 3 type games as a kind of guilty pleasure, this is a total disappointment. For other players who wish that match 3 games would grow up a little and take themselves a bit more seriously, this is a breath of fresh air. To each their own, though this reviewer falls in the cheap thrills category and therefore misses the fun.
Annoying Sound is a Major Flaw
The sound the game generates each time a player successfully makes a match on the board sounds rather off key somehow, and this becomes quite grating over time. The background music in the game really becomes a distraction after playing for any length of time and detracts from the overall experience. The game will shut off the background music when it comes down to the end of the timer, and it is at this point that players will likely realize that the music was putting them on edge; it's not a relaxing type of music at all.
Other games like Bejeweled have managed to integrate sound that keeps from getting annoying match after match and round after round, so it's not impossible. Turning the sound down or off is an easy fix to this problem.
Players Cannot Manipulate Board During Cascade Chains
It's always a sweet moment when a player makes a move that sets off a chain reaction on the board; this is one of the best things about the match 3 puzzle. Jewel Quest 3 is surprising in the fact that the board becomes completely static if cascades are triggered; players cannot click anything at all until the board is done.
This can be very frustrating for players who like to manipulate the board even after cascades have been triggered on other portions of the board. There is the risk of accidentally stopping the cascade by making a match that puts an end to it and for that reason some more cautious players may opt to let things run their course, but it's nice to know that it's at least an option. There are times when Jewel Quest 3 feels like it's playing itself, especially during the really long cascades.
Multiple User Accounts Mean The Game Can Be Shared Easily
This game supports up to ten different user accounts on a single computer, meaning that everyone can enjoy working through the game at their own pace.
Conclusion - A Well Made Match 3 Game Well Worth Your Time
Overall, Jewel Quest 3 is a match 3 game that is thought provoking and very well made. It has the potential to appeal to gamers who normally find this genre too shallow for their taste. The increased difficulty and focus on puzzle based gameplay may be off putting to match 3 genre devotees who enjoy the genre as a relaxing matching frenzy rather than a strategy session.
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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