Bejeweled is exactly the kind of game PopCap is famous for: simple on the surface but so perfectly tailored to the reward centres of the human brain that it can destroy an afternoon as easily as chloroform.
Bejeweled Twist is bursting with modes, stats, and highscore tables that will keep the game firmly lodged in your Nintendo DS for weeks. If only there were Download Play available, we'd be recommending it without reservation.Diamond in the rough
This latest Bejeweled puts a twist (apologies) on the original format. You're still looking to match gems three-in-a-row, but rather than swapping adjacent gems you rotate them.
Four gems can be spun in a clockwise direction, potentially lining up like-gems and removing them from the game. As gems match and disappear, others will fall and more matches will become available.
The more matches you make in a row, the higher your multiplier will climb, rewarding you with special gems and bonuses. Combos explode, fires destroy unbreakable blocks, locks are broken, and bombs are defused.
It's a simple but rewarding premise. There's no better feeling than watching a cascade of gems explode all over the screen in glorious flashes of light.What a gem
The underlying concept is fed through a blender to produce a range of similar yet subtly different challenges.
Classic mode is your standard match-three gameplay, with the end result provided by bombs that are ticking down to zero. The idea is to match the bombs before they explode, and gradually over time this becomes more and more difficult as more bombs are introduced and the timers start off lower.
Zen gets rid of the bombs, and lets you play forever. Endless gems appear, and you'll endlessly match them until your fingers can take no more.
For those in a rush, Blitz asks you to see how many gems you can pop in five minutes, with grabbing high scores the name of the game.
Challenge mode rounds it all off, providing the ultimate goals. A series of 13 different missions are offered, ranging from 'pop eight gems in one swap' to 'make three red matches in a row'.
Completing all of these will take dozens of hours, and keep you plugging away at that Bejeweled grid for a serious amount of time.
What's great about this range of modes is that there's always something perfect for each situation. Long train journeys can be spent on Classic or Zen, while those looking to fill a short time can peck away at Blitz and Challenge.
There are also ranks to achieve, stats to collect, and high score boards to top.Not so sparkly
The single-player content is great, but the multiplayer isn't so hot.
There's only one mode to play. Battle sees you matching gems and dumping bombs on your opponent in a frantic rush to overpower your friend.
It's not terrible by any means, but it feels a little lacking. We'd rather have seen takes on each single-player mode, and maybe even a co-op style of play.
Don't count on playing with too many people, either, as Download Play isn't available. You'll need a second game cart of try the multi-card action, which is pretty abysmal given the types of Nintendo DS experiences that have offered Download Play in the past.Bejeweled Twist is a brilliant puzzle game and a smart evolution of the Bejeweled formula. Only a weak multiplayer offering takes the shine off its otherwise gleaming surface.