Bejeweled 3 by Popcap Games is exactly what people have come to expect from a Bejeweled game. Since 2001, Bejeweled has sold more than 75 million copies and has been downloaded more than 150 million times. Since everyone knows what the game is, Popcap has tried to change things around by adding more modes and different ways to play.
The presentation of Bejeweled 3 is colorful and relaxing, which is what is needed for this type of puzzle game. Quiet and calm music mixes in with the explosions that go off when you get combos and special jewels. In the Quest mode, there is an objective you have to complete, and the music gets louder and more intense as the mode gets harder. Even between modes and levels, the music never skips or stops, and the background never takes more than a second to load.
The backgrounds in each of the modes are different and suit the type of game mode you are playing. For example, when playing Ice Storm, the background has snow covered mountains and you hear is the wind blowing, making it feel more like part of the game and not just there to fill the screen. The time and score bars are not always the easiest to see; they are off to the side. Looking over wastes time, especially when the placement of the bars varies from mode to mode. It would benefit the player to have them in the same place consistently to allow you to check your time and score without having to search for it. However, the bars do change to match the theme of the mode you are playing in. In Ice Storm, the bars have icicles, and in Diamond Mine, they fill up with the treasures you find, which add to the overall feel of the game. When aiming to match the jewels quickly for bigger combos and higher scores, you need the controls to be very responsive. Popcap has done exactly that with Bejeweled 3. When moving around the board, the controls are responsive without any lag or buttons not registering. The only problem you may run into is when you go to match another jewel. When you see a match get closer, it doesn’t just swap them around and match them. Instead, it moves to the place you were going to first. This can be problematic in Quest Mode, where you have to get combos, because it sets the combo to zero when you make a mistake. The menus, however, do not have this problem, and are very simple and easy to navigate.
Bejeweled can give you a challenge with some of the quests later on, as they do get a lot harder than the first ones. Apart from the quest, there is not much else to go for other than badges. Badges are mini-challenges for each of the game modes, starting at bronze and progressing to platinum. These can range from getting a certain amount of butterflies to mining treasures, and they get more difficult as you progress up the ranks. There are also achievements and trophies you can try and earn, but apart from that, you are basically playing the same four traditional game modes: Classic, Lightning, Zen, and Quest modes and the four new game modes Butterflies, Diamond Mine, Ice Storm, and Poker. Once you have played the game modes three or four times, there is no replay value other than earning a high score or just playing for fun.
The new modes in Bejeweled 3 do try and change the gameplay by adding an objective, but they all still maintain the original objective of matching up the jewels. For example, the Butterflies mode changes some of the jewels to butterflies, and you match them up to the colors before they get to the top and get caught by the spider. The game mode that is the most different is Ice Storm. In this mode you are tasked with having to stop the ice towers from getting to the top and freezing up the whole screen. The gameplay is sped up and provides a slightly different look on the game.
Overall, the successful model of the Bejeweled franchise remains intact outside of a few small changes. The presentation of the game is great, but it would be a lot better if the new modes had something different to offer other than the traditional formula we’ve all played before. If you’ve never played Bejeweled, it would be something you would play for a couple of hours, or when you are looking for a less intense game to play. While it does offer gamers a challenge, it doesn’t stray far enough from the mold to be something truly unique.
This review is based on a review copy of the Playstation 3 verison of Bejewled 3 by Popcap Games