Jewel Quest Solitaire III is the third in a series of games which combine the classic card game solitaire with the match 3 style gameplay of the Jewel Quest series. Is this a winning combination? Read on to find out!
Great Production Quality
The Jewel Quest series is known for high quality titles with lots of polish and pizzazz, and this game lives up to that reputation. The controls, menus and boards all feel solid and complete, just like a well made game should.
The music and sound effects throughout the game are high quality and serve to set the mood without distracting players during gameplay. Colors are sharp and easy to distinguish from each other without being harsh. This is extremely helpful when trying to find the best next move.
Solitaire Gameplay to the Core
They may have added a few bells and whistles, but the heart of this game is classic solitaire. Those who are familiar with the concept of solitaire will feel right at home from the start, but newcomers will appreciate the detailed tutorial which goes over the basics of the game.
Players will be presented with stacks of cards and the goal is to put them in ordered rows from largest to smallest. Two cards of the same suit cannot touch, which adds to the difficulty of getting them all sorted. This process is made even more complicated by the fact that some of the cards that need to be accessed are underneath the upward facing piles. Be prepared to do a lot of maneuvering to free and sort all of the cards! Solitaire is one of those games that is a lot more fun than it sounds.
Lots of Boards to Enjoy
Jewel Quest Solitaire 3 offers a surprising amount of variety for a game based on a concept as simple as solitaire. There are over 100 boards to clear before calling the game completed, and each offers its own unique challenges through variations in layout. Few games have better replay value than solitaire, and this title does its part to build on this base. The result is a game that is huge and long lasting.
Get Rewarded for Skillful Moves
There is a meter on the right side of the board that players can fill up by moving multiple cards in a row to the foundation pile without reshuffling the deck. The meter is reset any time the cards are reshuffled, so filling the meter can be a challenge.
Once a power up point is earned players can choose to activate one of eight unique power ups whenever the need arises. These nifty powers include an x-ray ability that gives players a peek at the hidden cards in the deck and a wildcard which can serve as a temporary stand in for any card of any suit until the real deal pops up from the deck. The wise use of these power ups can make even the most difficult of boards solvable.
Storyline Gives Players a Reason to Play
In this game, players follow along with the adventures of Ratu, a world explorer. Ratu communicates with players via his journal entries, and this is a very effective way to give a clear view of what the main character is thinking without resorting to monologuing. Ratu's goal is to find his assistant Yumi, who disappeared without a trace. Solving the mystery of who took her and why gives the game a sense of direction which is typically lacking in a casual tabletop card game. A classic Jewel Quest touch.
Puzzle Interludes Shake Things Up
In between rounds of cards, the game will present players with a board of gems to solve in typical Jewel Quest fashion. Making a match between three or more gems of the same color will make them disappear, leaving the space behind them gold. Coloring the whole board gold solves the puzzle and allows players to advance.
In addition, there are other little puzzles as well. For example, clearing some boards will lead to the recovery of pieces of pictures which can be reassembled to provide valuable clues that further the storyline. While these puzzles are definitely not much in terms of a challenge, they do serve to add to the feeling of solving a mystery.
One Mode of Difficulty Limits the Challenge
Some levels are particularly simple to solve, which may disappoint some more skilled players. This is especially true when taking the power ups into consideration. A player could theoretically up the ante by not allowing themselves to use any power ups at all during simpler boards, but it would have been nice if the game had included an expert mode that made the power up meter harder to fill.
Optional Automatic Finish is a Nice Touch
When it's clear that victory belongs to the player, the game will offer to automate the last moves of the board, speeding up the process considerably. This is extremely convenient and enables players to move forward to the next challenge quickly without wasting time tying up loose ends with a game that's already won. Auto finish is completely optional.
Conclusion - A Solid Solitaire Title
There is really very little to dislike about this game. The marriage of Jewel Quest style puzzle gameplay and solitaire is a real winner that few people could find fault with. Anyone who is a fan of solitaire is sure to get hours of enjoyment out of this title.
However, there is also nothing particularly show stopping or groundbreaking about this game. It may not be the most innovative game ever created, but it's a lot of fun for what it is.
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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