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Mobile  header logo

Bejeweled


For: Mobile   Also on: iPod

Polished gem or another rough diamond?

Product: Bejeweled | Publisher: EA Mobile | Developer: PopCap Games | Format: Mobile | Genre: Casual, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 294KB | Reviewed on: K750i other handsets | Version: Europe
 
Bejeweled Mobile, thumbnail 1
Whatever you call them – gems, crystals, rocks or plain stones – if truth be known, diamonds aren't just a girl's best friend. History has proven man's also got an insatiable greed for all things sparkly and shiny, ensuring he'll do pretty much anything to get his hands on them. Just look in a pirates' treasure chest, or any professional footballers' earlobe.

Was that the sort of dazzle Popcap had in mind when it invented its flash game Diamond Mine?

Seven years on, it doesn't really matter because the renamed Bejeweled (thanks, Microsoft) is the grandma of casual web gaming, meaning EA doesn't have to worry that mobile gamers won't be seduced by the sparkle of this particular version. Frankly, Bejeweled seems to be about as attractive to its audience as a handful of the real deal would be.

Still, EA's made a decent job of ensuring this tile-swapper (or pattern-matcher, depending on your definition) is a cut above the rest, thanks to high production values.

The graphics are of a good quality, while the sound effects (including voice synthesis) and catchy theme music add exciting arcade-style flair to what could otherwise have been a staid strategy-based affair.

Of course, any publisher would have to work quite hard to mess up this opportunity. On mobile, Bejeweled offers us its familiar game mechanic: something that works well, even within a handset's smaller playing arena.

For those uncertain about the action (although you surely will have played something similar before), the concept sees you moving two adjacent stones, swapping their positions to create rows or columns of three or more of the same shape and colour. The spaces vacated by your disappearing matched gems then, in turn, are filled by cascading gems falling from the top of the screen.

It sounds easy, and usually is, but the rub is that to gain maximum points, you have to be constantly thinking ahead, and attempting to create the chain reactions that will see dropping gems generating more disappearing chains with you making as few moves as possible. Just think of Zsa Zsa Gabor. For her, one huge diamond wedding ring wasn't enough: she was always lining up the next.

Moving back to the game, Bejeweled has two modes of play: Normal and Time Trial. In Normal, you have to fill the progress bar located at the bottom of screen by matching up gems, playing until no more gem sets are possible. In Time Trial, the principle is the same except you can't play at your own pace as the bar constantly counts down, forcing you to top up your available time by matching gems as fast as you can.

In this context, if there is criticism to be levelled at Bejeweled, it's that it lacks genuine depth as you're always doing the same thing, but that would also be to overlook the reason for its success – its instantly addictive quality.

So, all in all, Bejeweled is a stone that's been rubbed up to a pretty impressive sheen, making this mobile version ideal for those regular moments of boredom on the daily commute when you need a quick fix of gaming stimulation.
 
Bejeweled
Reviewer photo
Chris Maddox  | 1 May 2007
Bejeweled is a polished example of a tried-and-tested formula, but don't expect anything too groundbreaking in this mobile version
 
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