Bejeweled LIVE

There's a fair chance that in the run up to its launch Microsoft's strategy for Windows Phone 7 resembled nothing more than a simple three-point plan: develop the OS, get Steve Ballmer to shout about it a lot in front of the press, and, if at all possible, ask PopCap to develop Bejeweled for it.

Almost ten years on from the first appearance of PopCap's puzzler, it's easier to list the formats the game hasn't graced than those it has.

Yet even though there's a fair chance most gamers will have already encountered its glittering gems at some point in their lives, Bejeweled remains just as addictive as ever here in its new home.


Play, of course, remains largely identical to all previous editions, albeit not without the odd addition here and there. Taking on an 8x8 grid, your job is to match lines of three or more gems either horizontally or vertically by switching them around with any adjacent jewels.

Doing so clears said gems from the board, with lines of four firing up a 'flame gem' that takes out all the jewels in the vicinity with an explosion.

Manage to piece together a line of five and you're rewarded with a 'hyper cube', which zaps out all matching coloured gems on the board.

Finally, pull a five gem line together in a 'T' or 'L' shape, and you'll generate a 'star gem', which clears both lines upon activation.

Of course, given that each and every jewel you clear is replaced by new additions filtering down from the top of the board, this is a game that – depending on whether you opt for the timed Action mode or not – can run and run.

Jewel jamboree

It's really not hard to get into a rhythm fairly quickly, matching up gems move after move. Indeed, should you dare to drop your pace at all, Bejeweled LIVE springs into action, automatically offering a hint as to where the next match might be.

This will all be familiar territory for Bejeweled fans, however.

What makes Bejeweled LIVE a slightly different proposition – aside from integration with Xbox Live leaderboards, and some particularly crisp visuals this time around – is both the addition of some extra jewels, helping to keep the boards competitive, and the ability to shift them around while new gems are still falling from the top of the screen.

This means that it's possible to make mass match-ups in one short bundle, the progress bar at the bottom of the grid filling up with gusto.

Straight and narrow

Neither change is especially revolutionary, in truth, but messing with an established formula is a risky business, as many developers have discovered to their detriment over the years.

Given this is Bejeweled's first crack at the Windows Phone 7 whip, the fact that it remains so faithful to previous editions is no great crime, although any follow up might need to walk a more adventurous path.

As it is, Bejeweled LIVE serves its purpose, delivering its own particular brand of moreish match-three in a typically efficient manner.

Bejeweled LIVE

Much like any version of Bejeweled, albeit with a few added bits and bobs, PopCap's debut on Windows Phone 7 is just as solid as you might expect
Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.