Bejeweled Twist PC CD
Published by: Focus Multimedia
Developed by: PopCap Games
Match 3 puzzles are seemingly everywhere these days but none have been more addictive than the series which started it all off, Bejeweled (although you may know it by its previous name of Diamond Mine and you could argue that a PC game called Shariki was the first true Match 3 game). The success of the Bejeweled series has been phenomenal with over 25 million sales and its popularity shows no sign of waning. At the time of writing the latest entrant in the series is Bejeweled Twist (although the release of Bejeweled 3 is imminent) so let's see how it shapes up.
Bejeweled Twist is still about matching three or more gems in order to make them disappear. The difference in Bejeweled Twist is that you'll twist (rotate) the gems to make a line of three or more gems of the same type. It's important to mention however that when you twist the gems, you don't have to make a match. In a classic game of Bejeweled Twist you'll clear gems from the board until you've filled the Level Up Meter tube and moved forward to the next level.
There are bonuses for managing to line up more than three gems. Four gems will give you a Flame Gem and Five a Lightning Gem. You'll need either of these to get rid of the Coal pieces that occasionally find their way onto the grid. You'll have to consider locked gems which can't be twisted but can be matched up. There are also Bombs that need to be matched up before their countdown reaches zero (the countdown decreases by one with each twist/rotation). Once it hits zero you'll have a final chance to spin it in an attempt to disarm it. Chains are created by removing gems with each successive twist. Maxing out the Chain Multiplier gives you the chance to earn a Fruit Gem.
In addition to the standard Classic mode where you'll play a normal game of Bejeweled Twist, there are three other modes on offer. Zen allows you to play without time limits. It's a great mode for simply getting to grips with the game's mechanics. Blitz challenges you to score as many points as you can within five minutes. Finally Challenge is essentially the puzzle mode giving you a variety of puzzles to solve. Bejeweled Twist rewards you for continued play and allows you to increase in rank. As you play you'll fill up your Rank Bar and when you fill it, you'll earn a new title.
Bejeweled Twist was the best looking Bejeweled game at the time of its release although due to the nature of the game, graphics aren't exactly complex. The game can be played in full screen and windowed mode and there is support for screen resolutions up to 1920x1200 so the game should look sharp on most PC monitors. Deaf gamers won't have any problems as all of the important information is shown visually. All tutorials messages are shown using text and screenshots. The tutorial messages are short but very effective and you'll have no problems in getting to grips with the game.
It's actually surprising at how Bejeweled Twist, a game that may not look that different, differs from previous Bejeweled games. The pace isn't quite so hectic and as a result you get more time to think about your moves. You do not have to remove gems with every move but you are richly rewarded for doing so. It's still very much a Match 3 game but it also feels sufficiently different to warrant your attention. In essence it's a great game and one that shows that PopCap Games are masters at keeping games simple and yet highly addictive.