Match three or more gems with this addicting and engaging puzzle game!
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DFG Exclusive Review Summary
- Spectacular graphics and sound
- Brilliant gameplay
- Several game modes keep the game fresh and lively
- Fully adjustable options for everything from animations to voices
- Zen mode could stand alone as a brain training iteration of the game
- Mostly the same puzzles
- No online leaderboard
- Affirmations in Zen mode are incredibly trite and generic
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The Best Bejeweled Yet!
Bejeweled 3 is an innovative puzzle game that provides you with an addictive and challenging gaming experience. With a variety of gameplay options and challenges, this game will appeal to a large and diverse audience.
Whether you are a hardcore gamer, are looking for an entertaining way to fill a long or short period of time, love tile-matching puzzle games or simply enjoy games that keep you engaged from beginning to end, the highly addictive gameplay of Bejeweled 3 will have you wondering where the hours went.
Bejeweled 3 challenges you to match three or more gems of the same color. You are presented with a grid of different colored jewels, and your goal is to clear the board by creating groups of at least three like-colored gems.
To accomplish this, you can swap any gem with one that is located above, below, or beside it. If you perform a particularly awesome move that awards you with many points, you have the option to replay the move and the dazzling explosion that it creates, via the instant replay button.
Every time you match a group of gems, they explode and new gems drop onto the board from the top. If any of these jewels form a match when they land on the board, a cascade occurs. This is a type of chain reaction that can cause multiple cascades to occur if numerous rows of gems are matched.
Types of Gems
The gems on the board in Bejeweled 3 consist of seven colors, including purple, orange, blue, white, red, green and yellow. Unless you create a match containing a special gem, all gems are scored the same.
There are varieties of special gems that can appear on the board based on how many jewels you can match at once:
- Flame gems: Flame gems are created when you match a line or row of four gems. They explode upon matching and are destroyed along with the eight jewels that surround them.
- Hypercubes: When you match a row of five gems, a hypercube appears. This type of gem can be used to match any adjacent jewel, regardless of its color. All gems of the chosen color are destroyed after you match the hypercube.
- Star gems: It is possible to create matching gems in the shape of the letter L or T in Bejeweled 3. When you accomplish this feat, explosive surges of energy are sent up, down, left and right, destroying all the jewels that are in its path.
- Supernova gems: You can also challenge yourself to match a line containing six jewels. Although this is not easy to accomplish, if you match the supernova gem with any other jewel, it will destroy every jewel in its row and column. The powerful explosion this jewel generates will also cause other gems in adjacent columns and rows to explode.
Overall, Bejeweled has eight game modes for you to choose from. There are four game modes that are available to play immediately, and there are four that you must unlock by completing various challenges within the four main modes. Each mode provides you with a different way to experience the game.
Classic mode is the standard form of gameplay in Bejeweled 3 and the most traditional way to play the game. It consists of the basic form of gameplay in which you swap pairs of gems in an effort to create lines of matched jewels. This mode is untimed and you can take as much time as you like to devise your strategy for clearing the board and maximizing the number of points you receive. Classic mode ends when there are no more moves to make.
If you would like to relax and play Bejeweled in a no-pressure format, Zen mode is the option to choose. Since new gems are constantly being added to the board, there is no end to this mode and you can play for as long as you prefer. The unique feature of Zen mode is that you can customize your experience by choosing from one of the many audio-visual effects in the options menu. These options include:
- Breath modulation: Breath modulation presents you with audio and visual feedback that helps to regulate your breathing and promote relaxation. When this option is enabled, there will be prompts on the screen that instruct you to breathe in and out, and a pulsing wave that you can follow to modulate your breathing.
- Mantras: With this option, you can choose from a variety of mantras that will display on the bottom of the screen while you are playing the game. These positive affirmations help you to center your thoughts on specific areas for meditation. Positive thinking, self-confidence, general, weight loss, quit bad habits and prosperity are the six categories of mantras that you can choose from.
- Binaural beats: Binaural beats is easily the most unusual and unique of all the options in Zen mode. It requires you to wear headphones to listen to different frequencies that are played into each ear. The goal of this mode is to help your brain enter a different state by creating the perception that you are hearing frequencies outside of your normal hearing range. Deep relaxation, feeling more alert, clearing your mind of outside distractions and lifting your mood are just a few of the emotions that this mode attempts to elicit.
- Ambient sounds: If you choose the ambient sounds option, you can select from a variety of environmental sounds that can help you to relax and increase your ability to focus. You can choose from seven different sounds, including rain leaves, crickets, forest, coastal, waterfall, ocean surf and random.
Quest mode offers a more structured progression and lets you solve a series of 40 mini-games. This mode differs from the standard mode of play, since you complete a specific objective before the quest can be completed. Each stage offers you a number of challenges with increasing difficulty.
Examples of quests you can complete include matching 80 gems before the board completely fills up, clearing 120 gems in less than 20 moves, finding buried treasure and destroying bombs on the board. This game mode will appeal to you if you like more variety and a bit of a challenge.
Lightning mode is a fast paced, high-pressure game mode. In comparison to Classic and Zen mode, lightning mode is timed and your game will end when the time expires. This mode begins with one minute on the clock and your goal is to add time by matching gems that can add either five or 10 seconds to your total time. It is not possible to run out of moves; however, since new gems will consistently drop into the board.
Each of the four secret modes can be unlocked after you have reached a specific benchmark in Classic, Zen, Quest or Lightning mode. For example, you can unlock a secret mode by getting to level five in Classic mode or scoring 100,000 points in Lightning mode.
You can also be awarded badges for completing certain actions in the game. As you complete more challenging actions, the badges improve from bronze, silver, gold and platinum. You can earn badges by performing actions such as clearing a specific number of special gems, reaching a variety of total point values and reaching certain levels.
Bejeweled 3 Review
Bejeweled is one of the most beloved puzzle games of all time, and for good reason. In many ways, Bejeweled is the perfect puzzle game. It's bright, beautiful and easy to learn, yet it offers substantial rewards for players who are willing to learn fancy moves and skillful play. Does this third installment manage to bring something new to the table, or is it the same old formula all over again? Read on to find out!
Basic Bejeweled Gameplay
The core puzzle style is unchanged from the other titles in the Bejeweled series. This will be a con for some, but the majority of players will appreciate their favorite puzzle game remaining unadulterated.
The concept of the puzzle is pretty straightforward. Shiny gems are presented on a grid, and players are invited to make matches of three or more by swapping adjacent gems on the board. The grid is upright, so new gems perpetually fall to replace the ones cleared from the board.
Things get fancy when matches of four or more are made, or when matches are passively made as a result of gems settling back into place on the board. For example, matching four gems makes a flame gem that creates a powerful explosion when cleared from the board. Matching five gems makes a star gem which lasers all jewels in a cross pattern on the board. It's literally a blast. The faster you move and the more skillfully you play, the higher the score. It's one of the most addicting puzzle games ever.
This winning puzzle game remains unchanged, and this is a good thing.
Glorious Graphics and Stunning Sound
The concept of Bejeweled is gorgeous; match beautiful, brightly colored gems to make brilliant matches, and enjoy the occasional explosion of glitter and magic when you score particularly sweet moves. It's eye candy at its best! Bejeweled 3 takes the visual presentation of this concept to a brand new level with smoother, brighter graphics, making this the most spectacular installment of Bejeweled yet.
The new, crisper sound complements these HD graphics perfectly, too. There is nothing quite like the fanfare during a particularly lucky round. The sound effects, music and voice-over gives an epic vibe that's exciting and intense. It's a fabulous upgrade from the previous installment.
The backgrounds in Bejeweled 3 are artistically crafted with a strong fantasy vibe, and they aren't static either. The beautiful scenes in the background will animate and move during rounds, making them an enchanting distraction to behold. However, if the background is too interactive for your taste, these animations may be turned off. I kept them on because I'm a sucker for gorgeous scenery, but it's nice to have the option to turn them off.
Several Solid Game Modes
Players start out with four modes, and four additional modes are available for unlocking. Many times, game modes are token offerings that aren't worth playing more than once or twice, but not so with this game. These game modes really add something to this title, making Bejeweled 3 stand out from the crowd.
This is the puzzle that made Bejeweled a household name. Make matches until there are no more moves on the board. There is no time limit here, and the focus is on racking up the points.
Now you're on the clock! Make as many matches as possible within the time limit. Collecting time gems adds time to the clock, giving players the extra breathing room they need to reach their goal. It's fast, furious and addictive!
This mode gives players goals that must be achieved before progressing from level to level. This gives the game a greater sense of progression, and it also provides players the opportunity to strategize.
This mode is all about relaxation and wellness. Zen is an endless game mode designed to bring players into a state of tranquility and peace. Bejeweled 3 has upped the ante by adding the following options to Zen mode:
Breath Modulation - This option cues players to breathe in and breathe out in a solid, steady pattern while playing Zen mode. It's surprisingly hard to play the game and keep up with the suggested breathing patterns. I never realized how often I held my breath while playing this game!
Ambient Sounds - This option adds soothing sounds to the mix, encouraging relaxation. The calming lull of seagulls paired with an endless barrage of gems is an interesting satisfying experience. Other nature sounds include rain, waterfall, crickets and forest.
Binaural Beats - Binaural training programs cost a pretty penny, but Bejeweled 3 has included binaural beats as an add on to their Zen mode. The jury is out on whether or not binaural brainwave conditioning actually works, but having them available in this game gives anyone the chance to give them a whirl for themselves. The game warns players to do so at their own risk though:
"Certain people may experience mood changes, dizziness, muscle twitches, hallucinations, drowsiness, inattention and other health effects when listening to binaural beats with headphones. If you experience any of these symptoms while playing this mode, IMMEDIATELY remove the headphones, discontinue use and consult your doctor."
True binaural beats only work with stereo headphones, and many so-called "binaural" beats are phony, but the ones in Bejeweled 3 are legit. If you listen to only one side of the headphones, a single tone is played with no beat or pulsation present. The same is true for the other side. When both are listened to together, a pulsing beat is suddenly perceived, and this is a binaural beat. There really is no beat in the sound itself; the brain creates the pulsation as it attempts to make sense of the two incoming sounds of different frequencies. Trippy!
Listening to binaural beats can be quite boring since they aren't remotely musical. With Zen mode, it's a different story. Having something stimulating yet relaxing to do while conditioning the brain with binaural beats is a match made in heaven. There are several different beats to choose from too, ranging from waves for promoting alertness to inducing sleepiness and everything in between. It's fantastic!
Positive Mantras - This is the one con of Zen mode. The game displays positive affirmations as players play, and they are so trite and generic that it's pretty much useless for anything except a laugh. Unfortunately, there is no way to input personalized affirmations, and this could have made all the difference. "This feeling will pass" and "As I change my thoughts, I change my body" seem more giggle worthy than helpful.
The subliminal affirmation option aims to be more subtle by replacing the usual "excellent" and "incredible" with words like "grace," "trust," and "destiny." This is probably good for promoting a positive mood, but my skeptical rational mind found it disconcerting. Still, this is a highly palatable way to get a daily dose of positivity into one's daily life.
Zen mode takes all the inherently calming and soothing aspects of this game and enhances them through carefully chosen options. Every die-hard Bejeweled player knows that the best rounds happen when they are "in the zone" which is actually a state of profound focus, and most meditation programs attempt to put users in the same state of flow that Bejeweled automatically promotes. Zen mode could easily be sold all by itself as a stand alone health and wellness version of the game, and its inclusion really drives home the premium nature of this edition of the game.
Four Special Modes
The following four special modes are unlockable as players reach goals in the game, providing a nice reward for playing:
Poker - This is poker, Bejeweled style! This mode is time consuming, requiring careful thought and strategy. Each match made on the game board adds a card to the poker hand on the left of the screen. Managing to make five matches of the same type of gem on the board will create a flush, matching two of the same gem makes a pair and so on. A skull will land on random hands during the rounds, and earning that particular hand will put players at the mercy of the skull coin. There is a 50-50 chance of defeat, so play carefully.
Ice Storm - This is a pulse-pounding twist on the normal Lightning mode. Players must make vertical matches quickly in order to beat down the rising pillars of ice. It's quite the challenge!
Diamond Mine - Take control of a digging machine and see what buried treasures await in this ingenious spin on the typical Bejeweled gameplay. With dozens of precious items to be uncovered, this is treasure hunting at its best.
Butterflies - This sweet and simple mode is truly magical and charming. Jewel toned butterflies can be paired with gems of matching color, and the butterflies fly up one space for each move made on the board. A hungry spider is waiting at the top, and the goal is to save as many of these beauties as possible.
Fully Customizable Options
Bejeweled 3 can be played in fullscreen or windowed modes, and the resolution has three different sizing options ranging from normal to high and ultra. There is no need to have the latest computer specs to play this game, but the highest resolution setting will take advantage of high end video cards when available.
The music, sound and voice effects are all adjustable separately, giving players the opportunity to tweak the game to suit their own tastes. I personally find the male voice's praising comments distracting during my best rounds, so I've opted to turn him off. Finally, after all these years!
No Online Leaderboard
There will be no flaunting your gem matching prowess here, folks. Bejeweled 3 doesn't have an online leaderboard at all, meaning that fans will have to pit themselves against their own high scores. It's not a deal breaker, but an online leaderboard is a natural feature to include in a game of this caliber.
Bejeweled 3 is a worthy upgrade from its predecessor, Bejeweled 2. It's a deluxe version of the iconic game that delivers a fantastic gameplay experience time and again. It's bold, beautiful and daring! This will surely be the cornerstone of any game collection.
- 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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