Bejeweled 3

Bejeweled 3 is a full-fledged puzzle game

By Daavpuke, Posted 13 Dec 2010

It’s a bold move to release a sequel to a casual game on the same day as Disney’s TRON: Evolution and Blizzard’s World Of Warcraft: Cataclysm. However, PopCap Games has a huge following for their franchises and Bejeweled 3 could well be the most popular one. But since its concept is fairly basic, the main question here is: Is this game different from the Bejeweled 2 and is it worth my time and money?

The short answer is: Yes, very much so even. You can stop reading here, but for those interested, I’ll tell you why.

Sure, Bejeweled 3 is still the same basic concept of lining up and disappearing gems; on that aspect it’s no different from Bejeweled 2. You can look at that review and get all the info you’d need. But rather than an update, this game deserves to be judged upon its own merits.

NoobFeed MetaReview - Bejeweled 3
The startup screen from Bejeweled 3 offers up 4+4 modes. *click to enlarge*

It’s hard to believe such it could be altered so much, but lining up gems has never been this well done. The graphics come off polished and refined, with higher-end pc’s able to view a game that is just plain nice. While playing, I had a song stuck in my head. It kept going: “Ain’t nobody dope as we; I’m just so fresh, so clean.” And I don’t even like hip hop.

The impressive explosion effects flash on your screen to dazzle you with their brightness. They even updated the rainbow wormhole with gems flying in it, so the nausea effect from before is a lot less now. Those flying gems also get incorporated into the new board; even the special gems. This is a lot more fulfilling as you can save up special gems to clear in later levels.

But more importantly, the animations are seamlessly fluent and that keeps the game-flow tight and exciting. With the ability of lining up gems while others are falling, each game becomes a climatic and heart-pumping race. Even the sounds help keep the thrill alive, with pressuring effects, pushing you to the extreme when time starts running out. The up-tempo soundtrack joins in all this and completes the compelling combo of exciting gameplay.

But the true winner here is the sheer amount of new features PopCap could think of. There’s still a Classic Mode and an improved Endless Mode, now called Zen; but Lightning and Quest are the show stoppers.

NoobFeed Metareview - Zen Mode
Bejeweled 3 - Zen Mode

The new endless mode is Zen, in which you can relax with numerous options to find your center, such as breathing help, ambient sounds and quirky self-help one-liners. Although this is better than just playing forever, it still is a strange mode. Some mantras are just plain strange or even confusing: “I will succeed in my effort to quit.” Excuse me?

Lightning is a concept built on speed: You line up gems as fast you can and collect time gems to add to your counter once time runs out. As the clock ticks, playing becomes more and more stressful and that results in sweaty palms and rash decisions. It’s exhilarating to say the least!

NoobFeed MetaReview - Quest Mode
Bejeweled 3 - Quest Mode *click to enlarge*

Quest rises to the top and takes the best feature award to its name. It is here that it becomes apparent how well-thought PopCap produced their sequel and didn’t settle on just an update. This mode gives you simple goals to complete in a wide variation of mini-games. You unlock relics as you complete these tasks, but it’s the variety of mini-games that will keep you going on until total completion. I must’ve whizzed through it in no more than 2 plays; it’s just so damned addictive.

You can also unlock some mini-games by doing well in the main modes. Like that you’ll unlock Poker, where making a line gives you the card from that gem color. There’s Butterflies, where you must prevent these critters from flying to the top of the board to get munched by a spider. Ice Storm sees columns rising to the top of the board, where you need to line gems to make them drop or freeze to death. And finally, in Diamond Mine you can excavate treasure by destroying gems near the soil.

NoobFeed MetaReview - Poker Mode
Combining the addiction of Bejeweled and Poker; clever. *click to enlarge*

It’s as if the developers were sitting around with one question in mind: “How can we make Bejeweled even more addictive?” In 2 days, I’ve logged in about 24 hours of game time already and that’s whilst performing other duties. The mere fact these reviews took until now, is because it was impossible for me to put them down long enough to write. Once you start, the rush of competing just by yourself keeps you going, even after hitting a huge high score. You see that giant “Play Again” button and automatically your brain thinks: “What harm could one mre round do?” And before you know it, you’re looking baffled at your clock showing 4AM with a 7AM wake-up call. Seriously, when I started writing down the summary for this review, all I could think of was “addictive” written down in all caps.

NoobFeed MetaReview - Ice Storm Mode
Bejeweled 3 - Ice Storm Mode *click to enlarge*

This mentality of striving for excellence is a sharp edge to ponder about before you start playing. Easily, one play can last you a few hours and afterwards you’ll be left ashamed for wasting your time, but strangely yearning for more. It’s as if Bejeweled is game crack and those things have the potency of ruining lives. Even now, I’ve pushed back deadlines, food and sleep, just to line up more gems and play once more. I’ll probably also reward myself by playing more, instead of moving on to other articles or even games. It’s a strong psychological factor you certainly need to take into account before considering a purchase. Do you have the time to spend decades playing?

It comes to no surprise that Bejeweled 3 also has Badges you can collect with set gameplay goals. This merely is an enabler for you to take one more turn at trying to get a specific achievement; it all reverts back to the addiction factor. And the strangest part is that it’s all a singleplayer experience. This shows that compelling someone to compete isn’t spurred by the ability to rub noses in statistics. Just like in the old days, a high score is just as exciting by yourself as it is judged by peers and it’s commendable that Bejeweled 3 doesn’t feel the need to incorporate a degenerative leaderboard or such.


Check out the summary in this video review

All these factors make Bejeweled transcend beyond its own casual genre. There’s just too much going on for it to be labeled as such. Nay; Bejeweled 3 is a full-fledged puzzle game and it deserves the same respect that these games receive. If anything, this iteration has made any previous one completely obsolete and PopCap should respectfully stop selling any other ones, because at this point, they have become redundant. Buyer, beware: you will spend a lot of time playing this game!

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed.

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General Information

Bejeweled 3

87/100

Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher(s): PopCap Games
Developer(s): PopCap Games
Genres: Puzzle
Themes: Matching
Release Date: 2011-10-19

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