Just when you thought there were no more ways to swap gems and line them up in sparkling rows of three, Jewel Tower comes along with a subtle but intriguing new way to fiddle with your family jewels. And, for once, this one takes quite a bit of careful forethought to turn in a decent score.
The first and most important difference in Jewel Tower’s match-three gameplay is the way in which the gems are relocated. Rather than swapping a single jewel with one of its neighbours, a trio of icons are highlighted at once and rotated either clockwise or anticlockwise.
To make this system work, the game board operates on offset hexagonal segments, so three jewels always form a small triangle that can be rotated. You don’t have to align three gems with each rotation, and can move the jewels about the screen freely.
You're restricted in the number of turns you’re allowed to make, however, so arbitrarily swapping jewels is a quick way to lose the game. Instead, every move needs to be considered and calculated, and that’s something that more strategic players will really appreciate about Jewel Tower.
Alongside the limited number of moves you’re allowed to make you’re also required to collect a specific number of each colour of gem. Combined, these two small restrictions are massively important to how the game plays out, and delivers something of a chess-like, contemplative quality to each and every move.
Three different game modes (Normal, Timed and Race) add a little variety to the gameplay, though it seems a shame to pit yourself against a timer when it’s the more calculated approach that gives Jewel Tower its uniqueness.
Single thumb puzzle games are the staple diet of most pocket gamersand Jewel Tower will provide a delicious dessert, even if it doesn’t quite have the substance for a main course.