While Candy Crush Saga may have become the standard all match-3 games aspire to, that crown used to belong to Bejeweled.
What a shame it is, then, that after a six-year absence, Bejeweled has returned in the form of Bejeweled Stars, which seems to take its cues from its candy-based rival.
It's the same addictive gameplay as before, now with a wonderful graphical overhaul, but it ultimately fails to do anything to push the envelope for match-3 games.Shiny
The aim of the game is the same it's always been - match brightly coloured gems to score points, create chains, and ultimately make the whole screen blow up in a magnificent display.
Matching 3 gems clears them and drops more from above. Matching more than 3 gives you a new gem, which can destroy an area around it, clear everything in a straight line, or just clear out every gem of a certain colour.
In this version, matching 6 – an impressive task in its own right – gives you a gem that turns every gem of one type into a Hypercube, which leads to some impressive destruction.
The main difference, however, is your objective. Instead of just playing for highscores, you now progress through levels with changing objectives, much like in the aforementioned Candy Crush Saga.
One level you'll be matching butterflies before they reach the top, the next you'll be smashing crystal by matching gems underneath the right square. Then you'll probably have to do both at once.
There's enough variety here to keep things interesting, but it's all things you've seen before in other match-stuff titles. The only new addition is stones, which can only be cleared with special gems, and that's more annoying than it is innovative.Fool's gold
You can craft power-ups to help you out by collecting Sky Gems in levels - this is actually quite a neat system that gives players an advantage without having to pay outright.
You will have to wait before being able to use these power-ups, or speed the process up with coins, but overall it's a surprisingly fair way of helping out players who are stuck.
And it has to be said that the game looks fantastic, especially when you land a huge chain and the whole screen goes insane, with explosions and electricity flying off in every direction.
But for all its flashy visuals and clever approaches to monetisation, Bejeweled Stars really doesn't add much to a genre that's already vastly over-populated.
Even its main inspiration, Candy Crush Saga, has found ways to advance the formula in recent years with Soda Saga and Jelly Saga.
Bejeweled Stars, then, while an enjoyable experience, is a bit too derivative of games it initially inspired.
That said, it's still a fun, addictive experience that will appeal to Candy Crush fans, and match-3 enthusiasts of all kinds.