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DS  header logo

Jewel Master: Cradle of Persia

For: DS

Princely?

Product: Jewel Master: Cradle of Persia | Publisher: Rising Star | Format: DS | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Jewel Master: Cradle of Persia DS, thumbnail 1
Do you like match-three puzzle games? Do you like grinding out resources to build civilisations? Are you okay with fairly poor artistic design? Then Jewel Master: Cradle of Persia from Rising Star Games is absolutely for you.

Okay, that introduction was a smidge reductive. Cradle of Persia is a fine title in the vein of Bejeweled, albeit with an Arabian visual twist and a few additions to help lengthen the experience.

You'll be right at home if you've experienced any other match-three title. You line-up vertical or horizontal rows of icons – in this instance foodstuffs, coins, wood, and other resources – numbering three or more, removing them from play by swapping their position to adjacent tiles.

As they disappear, more items fall and take their place, a mathematic algorithm ensuring that no move you make can put an end to your game.

To clear one of the many boards throughout the main game, you have to remove all coloured tiles from the structure by ensuring that at least one item is on them when a complete line is made.

This adds a degree of focus uncommon in the match-three genre, as you frantically look for connections to make within the coloured tiles' vicinity as the ever-present timer drains away.

Pers-ugh!

The top screen of the DS is left to render a barely moving animation of your soon-to-be empire, as well as assets you've acquired from the groups of items you create. It's underused, but the information it provides is clear.

Input is handled by the touchscreen, and rather well at that. You use the stylus to either individually select and move or flick items into the desired position, as well as dragging and dropping special bonuses that you can use after you've charged them.

The simplest of these, the dynamite, can be placed anywhere to remove an item or coloured board tile. Others stop time, or scramble the tile layout.

The small size of the tiles - due to how many need to be fit onto the screen at once – can occasionally result in a fudged move. It's not a constant issue, by any means, but it happens.

Another drawback is the overall presentation. From the front cover to the in game visuals, it's woefully generic - ugly, even. And there are those tiny tiles. Distinguishing between two similarly coloured objects quickly becomes difficult, and even more so when chains obscure them further.

Music repeats far too often, its exotic Middle East twang becoming stale as it constantly loops through levels. Effects fare much better, though, with the clicks accompanying the movement of icons having a particularly solid, almost mechanical quality.

Persia wasn't built in a day

It's a long game, too. The Adventure mode has you playing several times per section for each of the civilisation facilities you wish to add to your encampment. You need to collect these before moving on to the next set of challenges, called Epochs.

Tourney unfolds as you complete layouts in Adventure, allowing access to any previously played tile set, and Blitz is you against the timer without a break - match-three's survival mode. It will take you ages to go through all of it, but then it's all very similar content, never really deviating from the formula.

The tile-removing mechanic adds some spice to a genre that's already been done to death, and the amount of time that you could sink into Jewel Master: Cradle of Persia is substantial.

But it doesn't do enough to justify a return to the match-three genre for anybody burnt out on Bejeweled, Shariki, and Puzzle Quest.
 
Jewel Master: Cradle of Persia
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 22 March 2012
It's content rich, it's no looker, it's well put together, it's a match-three puzzle game. If you just can't get enough jewel busting in your life, then Cradle of Persia is for you
 
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