Rubies and emeralds and sapphires oh my!

First impressions

We got our first impressions of this game through our friends’ computers and iPads. It seemed if we couldn’t beat them we should join them. After trying to tear a few of them away from their games without much success, we figured we would give Bejeweled a try to see what the fuss was all about.

We tried it out free on a Windows-based machine for a while, and then were ready to take the plunge and spend the whole $3.99 to buy Bejeweled HD for our iPad from the App Store. We had liked the game before, but there was just something about those HD shiny gems, new-age artwork and different game styles and options that really caught our attention.

How it works

The classic game keeps it simple. You have to switch out the jewels so you get at least three in a row horizontally or vertically and once you do, they disappear to be replaced by others. Although three is the minimum, you get extra special sparklies when you manage four or more, or two sets of gems by switching out the one connecting them. You also get extra credit if when the game removes the column or row you matched, it creates another matched three, and so on. Got it? Bejeweled is so much easier than this written explanation, so the best thing to do is try it.

When you purchase Bejeweled HD you get many games for the price of one. There’s “Zen” where, I kid you not, you can choose between ambient sounds like ocean surf, crickets and waterfalls, or mantras, which cover prosperity, weight loss (if this works, it’ll be the best $3.99 we’ve ever spent), and quitting bad habits. Suppose one of those bad habits is playing Bejeweled all the time? We think we just blew our minds …

“Butterflies” involves getting as many points as you can before the butterfly jewel makes it to the top if the screen, “Lightning” is timed and offers special jewels that can buy you some extra precious seconds, and “Diamond Mine” is also timed where you have to keep clearing levels to continue. It gets harder as you go.

When we played

We began with the classic game so we get to grips with the concept, as apparently trying to get three jewels in a row was more than our little brains could handle all at once. Once we became comfortable with how it worked, we were ready to move onto the further tests of our skills. We tried a number of the special games, but in the end it was “Diamond Mine” for us. There was just something about being gripped by that panic when time was running out, coupled with the euphoria of seeing electrical charges indicating extra bonus points that kept us enthralled.

Every time the end came, we rolled up our sleeves and decided to give it another try. Our fingers moved like sausages possessed across our iPad screen as jewels disappeared in the blink of an eye. We began to get what everyone had been talking about.

Final thoughts

Apart from the small bit of problem solving that comes into play when you are trying to maximise the number of jewels in a row, Bejeweled doesn’t require a phenomenal amount of strategising and so therefore it is a fun game for all ages. It’s nice that it has so many options, and perhaps once we’ve had a bit more time to work with the “Zen” game we’ll find ourselves calmer and more relaxed than we’ve ever been before. Bejeweled is a great way to pass the time when you’re on a flight or stuck in a lift. It’s the next best thing to having actual gems in your jewellery box.

Pros: Easy to understand. No need for an Internet connection. A variety of games to play. Inexpensive.

Cons: You have to sometimes go to a game as though you’re going to play in order to get back to the main menu. No way to save as you go; once there are no moves to make, the game is over and you start from scratch.

BEJEWELED HD
Seller: PopCap
Cost: $3.99
Devices: iPad only (for this version of Bejeweled)
Rating: E Everyone