Bejeweled may, or may not be a concept you’re familiar with. I remember playing a trial Flash version way back in the day. Needless to say, it’s been a few years. So let’s start with the basics.
Bejeweled is a puzzle game featuring, you guessed, jewels. They come in a number of colours, including red, purple, yellow and green. All you have to do is match three of them and they will disappear from the board, making way for new jewels. Sound simple? Well, it is, and it isn’t. You can only move one jewel at a time, swapping it with an adjacent one. And while matching three of them is nice, matching four or more results in the creation of special jewels, which themselves can clear the board much faster by destroying nearby jewels.
There are four main modes of play in Bejeweled 3. The Classic mode is just as described above: matching three or more jewels of the same colour to increase your score. Naturally, matching higher numbers of jewels results in a better score. You can eventually move on to the next level, which gives you a fresh board to work with, though it keeps some of your special jewels if you’d created any but not used them. The only thing stopping you in this mode is the possibility of running out of matches to make. Needless to say, it becomes pretty challenging to keep an eye out for the best possible matches, as well as hoping that you don’t run out of room entirely.
Similar to Classic mode is Zen mode. This is your endless mode that doesn’t seem to include the risk of running out of moves. And you can leave the mode and come back later, and continue your existing game. It’s great if you’re looking to just match some jewels without any restrictions.
Next is Lightning mode. This is a timed mode, though you can collect special jewels that will extend the timer slightly. This fast-paced mode is perfect when you need a bit of a rush and want to try and improve your score in this mode.
Finally, there is Quest mode. This consists of a number of minigames where you have to solve certain puzzles with rather strict time constraints or other restrictions. These are great for a quick fix. As you complete puzzles, you unlock new ones, which are generally harder versions of the ones you’ve already completed. Modes include saving a certain number of butterflies from a spider, uncovering artifacts in the sand, turning the entire board gold, or matching a certain number of jewels within the given time. These minigames are highly addictive and are a great way to challenge yourself.
Meeting certain objectives in the four main modes unlocks four other ‘Secret’ modes for play. These are variations of some of the minigames from Quest mode, but are well worth unlocking (and not too hard to unlock either) as they add some extra variety to the game. Badges seem to be Nintendo’s version of Achievements, and Bejeweled 3 has plenty of them, for reaching various scoring and jewel matching milestones.
Whether you’re a fan of the Bejeweled franchise or are a newcomer who enjoys puzzle games, Bejeweled 3 has something to offer you. And being on the DS, it’s the perfect game to take while travelling or waiting in bank queues.
Reviewed on Nintendo DS. Also available for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
Last Updated: May 17, 2012