Previews

Hands on with Bejeweled for iPhone

Web-based puzzler gets the thumbs up from us

Hands on with Bejeweled for iPhone
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| Bejeweled

While we wait for Apple to launch downloadable iPhone games, there are plenty of web games accessible through the handset's Safari browser. One of the most high-profile is Bejeweled, which is hosted on PopCap Games' own website.

For those of you yet to sample Bejeweled, it's a puzzler where you swap adjacent gems to form lines of three or more, which then disappear and allow all the gems above them to fall down.

It's one of the oldest match-three puzzlers on mobile, so it's fitting that it's one of the first to transfer to iPhone.

We logged in for a go, and were impressed with what we saw. It might not look spectacular – certainly not compared to lovingly created mobile games like Chuzzle – but the visuals do the job.

You swap gems by jabbing one with your thumb, then jabbing the one you want to swap it with. This is where there's a slight disappointment, which is no fault of PopCap's. See, if you're used to the iPhone's touchscreen interface, you expect to be able to drag gems out of position using your thumb, rather than tapping on one then the other.

But that's obviously not possible (yet) through the iPhone's Safari browser, so games like Bejeweled will inevitably feel less tactile than they could do if they were full iPhone games.

Nevertheless, this version of Bejeweled is great fun, and as addictive as the existing mobile version. It's certainly a fine way to tide us over until (hopefully) it gets turned into a fully fledged iPhone game next year.