Discover all-new ways to play the world's #1 puzzle game! Find your perfect match with 8 breathtaking game modes that meet all your moods - including Classic, Quest, Lightning and Zen. Enjoy the amazing sights and sounds. Earn flashy achievement badges. Engage in endless gem-matching fun, and soar to dazzling new heights!
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Play On: Windows/XP/Vista and 7
Having been a big fan of Bejeweled 2 deluxe I was kean to see what differences were clear between that and the new Bejeweled 3 download, did the game manage to improve on its predecessor? Afterall there wasn't much wrong with Bejeweled 2, it's really a timeless block busting classic that has endless hours of fun.
Of course there has also been Bejeweled Twist and Blitz since Bejeweled 2 was released. Twist in particular proved popular which introduced the idea of rotating the gems clockwise to match 3 of a kind or more so how much more could Bejeweled 3 have to offer and at $20 (£15) is the full version worth the money?
Upon loading the game up the classic Bejeweled music emerges in a more jazzed up tone and the familiar voice comes from the midst 'Welcome to Bejeweled 3'!
From the menu you can pick 4 modes to start off with, similar to what you could choose in Bejeweled 2. The modes to choose from are:
There are also 4 additional unlockable modes which we will cover in this review and guide.
Classic mode is the original arcade mode in Bejeweled 3 where you have an energy bar that you need to fill up at the bottom of the screen as well as a specific amount of moves in which to complete each round.
You fill the energy bar by matching 3 or more of a kind of the same gem. Obviously the bigger combos you achieve the more energy you pump into the bar. The aim is to get the bar to the very top in order to progress to the next level. The bar does not drop at any time so you are not playing against the clock like in lightning or ice storm mode mentioned further down.
In classic mode if you get stuck on finding three or more of a kind to match then hints will emerge to show you where you can match three of a kind. This makes classic mode the perfect choice for anyone new to Bejeweled.
Classic's mini mode is poker mode and it can be unlocked by reaching level 5. In poker mode the aim is to match 3 or more of a kind, with the gem type then being counted as one of your five poker cards. The idea is to try get 5 of kind (a flush) or as near to it as possible. The variety of hands possible in poker mode are:
So we know about what hands you can get in poker mode but where does the challenge lie exactly? Well the challenge is set by the kind of hands you achieve in the game. If you score 1 pair in Bejeweled 3 a skull icon is placed on that hand, this means you can't score another pair next time otherwise the game is over. If you also then score a hand just above a pair (a spectrum) you spread the skull disease to that hand stopping you from using the spectrum and the pair in your next go.
In order to get rid of the skulls you must achieve a hand that is two levels above the skull imprinted on the highest hand. This will then rid the board of the highest skull and your job is then to eradicate the next skull. It sounds rather complicated but it isn't. It does however make for a fun mini game in the Bejeweled 3 game and provides decent longevity. However I don't think it marries up with Ice Storm mode or Diamond Mine mode (covered below) in terms of a challenge and excitement and so if you don't have much time to play the game, i'd recommend you unlock the ice storm mode or diamond mode first.
One good tip is that Poker mode is very easy to score high points on compared to many other modes including ice storm mode. You can quickly rack up a huge score such as the one I achieved below just within a couple of plays! This means poker mode is the quickest way to achieving higher ranks in Bejeweled 3.
Zen mode in Bejeweled 3 is a very original and natural idea. It isn't just about playing the game in a relaxed state due to no time restrictions but PopCap have put some serious effort into adding other features to make Zen mode a very enjoyable and chilled out experience.
PopCap have chosen some very soothing ambient sounds in which to play along to. I must admit the music and sounds did make me feel much more relaxed than playing to the high energy and frantic music of classic and the many other high action modes.
To customise your zen experience, simply click on the wave icon above the hint button in the bottom left hand corner of the screen. This presents you with a list of customisable options. With the ambient sounds there are six to choose from, all of which do wonders for relaxtion, these are:
You can choose to have the music complement the ambient sounds, be muted totally or adjust the volume to create your perfect blend of music and ambient sounds.
Next is the breath modulation, I found this fascinating and think it is such a great idea for a game like Bejeweled 3. Enabling the breath modulation will allow you to adjust the speed at which the game encourages you to take a breath in and out and also the volume so you can clearly hear the modulation over the ambient sounds and music.
To help you match your breath with the modulation there is also a white mist that goes up and down the screen in the background as you play so you can even see when to breath in and out. To put the icing on the cake instructions appear at the bottom and top of the screen to further help fine tune your breathing. 'Breathe in' appears at the bottom of the screen and as the mist rises to the top of the screen 'Breathe out' then appears.
The Mantras are next, yes the meditation experience in Zen mode just keeps getting better. Enabling mantras will mean positive affirmations will appear on the screen as you play the game, helping you to focus your thoughts on beneficial areas of meditation. The mantras appear in the energy bar at the bottom of the screen, a place where you will naturally look towards as you score more points and the bar fills up. The mantra changes on your second successive 3 or more of a kind match.
The final zen option is the binaural beats, these require headphones and there are some health and safety warnings about the use of them. Although they can help your mind reach different states of conciousness, they can have an adverse effect on some people, so please try them out and if you experience any discomfort, take your head phones off straight away and then disable the beats.
Most people will benefit from the beats though and there are many different types to choose from. The beats work by playing slightly different sound frequencies into each ear changing the state of your mind. The different options are as follows:
Try binaural beats for yourself and see if any of the above options do help you reach the state of mind they claim to. I must admit I aren't the greatest lover of meditation so they weren't for me, although I did enjoy the other more simpler options such as the breath modulation and the ambient sounds.
Butterflies mode is unlocked by reaching level 5 of zen mode and it is yet another unique mini game offered by the Bejeweled 3 download. Here your aim is to rescue the butterflies from the nasty spider lurking at the top of the screen. To do so you must combine the butterfly gems with two or more of the same coloured gem to capture the butterflies and stop them from falling into the claws of the spider. Should any of your butterfly gems be pushed up into the spider's claws the game is over.
Not only can you combine the butterfly gems with others of the same colour to save them but you can also combine normal gems above and below the butterflies to bring them further back down and away from the spider. As the butterflies reach near the top of the gem column and the spider lurks dangerously close by the butterflies begin to shake out of the fear of being eaten! It's your job to make sure you don't become overwhelmed with too many butterflies drawn near the spider, here's where the challenge comes in.
At any time you could find yourself with up to 10 butterflies which all need combining with gems to save. Bejeweled fans may find themselves out of luck pretty quick in this mode if they don't learn to multi task. The key is to avoid getting two butterflies to the top of the gem board as the likelihood is you won't be able to save both of them at once from the spider. I actually found that even with only one butterfly gem to save near the top, I would still become unstuck so in order to overcome this game and become the king of butterflies mode you really do need to keep your eye on all butterfly gems at all times. More importantly to think more than one step ahead in which butterfly you are going to save next and perceiving the likely chain reaction of gem match is vital to scoring high in this mode.
Butterflies mode like poker is an excellent way to stack your score high in order to progress in your ranking and offers one of the more easier games in gaining big highscore bonuses. This mini game offers a novel eye catching challenge with some beautiful effects, it's very pleasing on the eye!
Lightning mode in the Bejeweled 3 download is the revamped time mode from Bejeweled 2. In lightning mode the clock ticks down but unlike in the second version of Bejeweled, number 3 allows the clock to tick right down regardless of how many combination of gems you match. So you can't actually combat the ticking of time through matching gems but instead you need to collect 'time gems'. This makes time mode or lightning mode as it as now called much more challenging than before, particularly because time gems are scarce.
You could go on forever and a day in Bejeweled 2 in time mode because just matching 3 of a kind was enough to help stave off the time elapse, if you got gem combinations quickly. In the new lightning mode the clock ticks down from 1 minute and will not stop. The idea is when the time gems emerge, you need to collect them as quickly as possible as these will be added on to the elapsed minute giving you a time boost. It is however not so easy to collect them, you need to match them with 2 more a kind to claim them, so you will find yourself doing a lot of juggling to correctly match them up. This poses a true challenge, even for the devout Bejeweled fans with quick reflexes.
The final frenzy is the end part of lightning mode and is where the time is fully up and all the additional time you collected through time gems has also been used. Any special gems you have left (such as flame gems and hyper cubes) explode causing gem shattering chain reactions leading to a chunky collection of points gained from gem explosions. It is likely that you will gain a highscore here and collect your first lot of badges should you choose to play lightning mode first. I cover badges later on.
Once your go is over in lightning mode a statistics table will appear showing you all the key plays you made in the challenge such as the amount of flame gems, star gems and hyper cubes you created, the points you gained from single match combinations and chain reactions, highest multiplier, best move and longest castcade. It also shows you your current rank which starts off at novice. Getting beyond novice to rank 2 (apprentice) is fairly easy but from there on it get's much harder with over 1.4 million points needed in total. However this is helped by the fact that your total points in Bejeweled 3 is counted against not only lightning mode, but ice storm mode (which is covered next) and many other modes. So if you fancy a change in building your points total you can switchbetween plenty of gaming modes to keep the game fresh.
Lightning mode is one of the most exciting Bejeweled game modes created to date and you will spend many hours of fun smashing gems and winning badges here.
Ice Storm Mode is unlocked through achieving badges in lightning mode. This is bar far the most challenging mode in Bejeweled 3 and I dare any casual gamer to try to get over 100,000 points in their first attempt, the gauntlet is so relentless and skill level so high that it takes a fair amount of practice to get even half good at it.
In this mode ice storms build swiftly from the bottom up behind your gems, usually in columns of 2 gems. Your aim is to stop the storms from reaching the top and fully freezing all your gems. If you allow a storm to freeze over (its skull will turn red as it is about to do so) the game ends and you loose!
There are four ways to stop the storms from reaching the top, some are more effective than others but are also harder to achieve. The most readily available way is to match 3 gems in a row horizontally. This temporarily pushes the ice storms progression back down but doesn't last very long. It can however buy you some time if the storm is about to freeze and end your game as it will temporarily thaw the gems. Matching three across will also mean you will combat two ice storms at once as you get 3 matching gems which will naturally cover three columns.
The second way is to match three gems vertically and this will completely break the ice storm shattering it into pieces giving you some rest bite before the flow of water and ice starts again behind that particular set of gem columns. This is a much more effective way at combatting storms than matching 3 gems horizontally but it is usually harder to find 3 gems down than across.
The third way which provides welcome relief from 'all' ice storms is getting the multiplier up to the top. The multiplier tank is on the left hand side of the screen and gradually moves up as you match gems vertically and horizontally. Once it reaches the top it will set off a set of steam blowers which will send the ice storms right back down to the bottom also boosting your points dramatically.
The final way to combat the storms is the most effective way and it's through either using a flame gem, hyper cube or supernova gem (should you be lucky enough to create the supernova!). All cause explosions that can shatter as many as 4 ice storms at once. If you concoct a hyper cube I would advise you save it for a desperate time where your really struggling to stave off the ice storms because it can really get you out of a sticky situation.
All in all the ice storm mode of Bejeweled 3 game is a fantastic new invention by PopCap and really lays down the gauntlet for would be Bejeweled experts. The on rushing ice storms quickly become very hard to keep at bay and only the most observant of players will be able to match enough gems fast enough to shatter their aggressive attacks, good luck!
In Quest mode your aim is to solve 40 mini puzzles in order to restore the lost relics of Bejeweled. These include:
Of course these are just the mini puzzles from the first relic, I won't give them all away, you will have to complete the first set of relic challenges to see what other fun games Bejeweled 3's quest mode has instore for you!
The 40 mini puzzles are completely unique and therefore provide more freshness to the Bejeweled series. Popcap keep the fun in full swing with each mini game offering the perfect balance between match three gem challenges, time management and action.
In particular I loved the balance and buried treasure games within the first set of relic puzzle challenges. The balance game involves matching 15 red gem combinations and 15 blue gem combinations, everytime you match either colour a certain amount of weight is inserted on either side the scales. You must prevent either side from hitting the floor or the game is over so this game is all about multi tasking and having a kean eye for match three. The buried treasure game requires you to clear the board by matching gems in order to reveal the buried treasure beneath. You need to reveal the entire scale of the treasure in order to reclaim it so you can find yourself picking around the same spot for a while trying to match three gems to uncover that elusive 1 spot!
Having completed all 40 puzzles of quest mode I can openly admit that there are tonnes more action packed mini games to play and getting through them all is very enjoyable, it certainly kills time in a very entertaining way. All in all quest mode in the Bejeweled 3 download offers something very different from all the other modes because it's jam ram packed with unique fun at every turn. It will certainly keep you busy for a good day trying to overcome all the challenges, some of which are so much fun that you will want to repeat them over and over again.
The last of the mini games happens to be my favourite in the Bejeweled 3 download, for me it's a perfect blend between action, skill and time management. Diamond mine mode is all about blowing the hell out of the ground and hunting for gold using your gem matching skills. You will never use so many hyper cubes in your life to shatter hundreds of gems.
The aim of the game is to dig as deep as you can and uncover enough diamonds and gold to proceed to the next level (further down in the mine). In order to dig deep and fash enough you need to match gem combinations at a blistering pace and preferably four or more at a time on a regular basis. This is in order to create enough explosions to smash through the ground.
You are given 1 minute 30 seconds to start with and it's up to you to keep that clock up to the top by blowing through the ground fast enough to get a time bonus. If the full time elapses before you have dug enough gold and diamonds out of the ground it's game over! On the way you will gain some fantastic point bonuses through uncovering secret relics which makes this mini game even more intriguing.
All in all I think most Bejewelers will find this mini game the most exciting of all the Bejeweled 3 modes and that includes the main modes. I know everytime my time was up I was tempted to play another go instead of writing this review, its almost impossible to give up, 'just one extra play' you will be telling yourself all the time!
The general playability of the Bejeweled 3 game is like all other Bejeweled games -very smooth and effortless to play. Swapping gems and controlling the game with the point and click sensitivity is as good as it will ever get. So has everything regarding gameplay stayed the same? You will be glad to hear no, there are plenty of new additions to the 3rd in the series giving it a new lease of life...
As already covered the Bejeweled 3 download features 4 extra mini modes to extend the game play and excitement even more. Where as in Bejeweled 2 you had to stick with the standard 4 game modes (which were still loads of fun) in version 3 your presented with some exciting additional modes with Diamond Mine mode being my favourite of the extras. This certainly add's much more lastability to the game play, especially with all 4 additional modes proving very addictive.
The flame gem is also new and replaces the conventional explosive gem created when you match 4 gems of the same kind. In Bejeweled 2 when you matched 4 gems of the same they automatically created an explosion around you blowing up more gems and you didn't have any control over what this effect did. In the Bejeweled 3 game, when the flame gem is created it isn't set off until you then match it to two more of the same kind. So you have more power over where and when it get's set off. The new special effect is also a welcome breath of fresh air, instead of shattering the gems like in Bejeweled 2 it melts away the gems, very cool!
One of the new introductions to the Bejeweled 3 game play is that you can now create 'T' and 'L' matches to concoct a star gem. The 'T' and 'L' gem rows must be made up of 5 of the same colour gem in order to create the star gem, in other words two intersection matches of the same gem.
The star gem then needs to be matched up to another two gems for it to be set off. It's presence is clearly felt across the board as the star gem lets rip with an intense burst of energy causing all gems in it's energy path to shatter as well as a small radius of gems around it.
The the Hyper Cube is one of the most powerful gems in Bejeweled 3 and is certainly the most versatile, it is created by matching 5 of the same gem in a row. This cube is the same as the old lightning gem in Bejeweled 2 but it looks bigger and badder! PopCap have given this electric bolt of dark energy a real makeover. As with it's predecessor the Hyper Cube can be selected to wipe out a certain colour of gem all over the screen potentially causing huge chain reactions afterwards. You can select any gem that surrounds the Hyper Cube to be the one that gets completely eradicated and this can clear a considerable amount of gems on the screen.
All Bejeweled fans will be glad to know that the gem busting doesn't stop at the Hyper Cube, next in line is the supernova gem which lets rip with a whopping explosion taking out a massive chunk of the board. Once the supernova gem is born through matching 6 gems in a row you only need to match it to another 2 of its kind to see a gigantic supernova explode the gems on the screen creating a huge score and chain reaction of gem shattering proportions, it's quite a sight!
You will be glad to hear that in Bejeweled 3 your power up gems are kept if you complete a level. Where as in number 2 if you didn't use up your lightning gem before the level was passed you would loose it, in number 3 all special gems are carried over to the new level meaning your best efforts are never wasted!
Whilst playing all the different modes of the Bejeweled 3 game you will no doubtedly pick up badges for clearing gems, achieving certain scores and making mamoth gem shattering combos. I picked up the following badges through many plays of lightning mode, ice storm mode, classic mode, poker mode, zen mode, butterflies mode, quest mode and diamond mine mode which I have to say are all very addictive games and offer a great improvement upon Bejeweled 2, especially lightning mode (formerly known then as time mode in number 2):
With strong enhancements on the four standard modes from Bejeweled 2 plus four new mini games on top and a tonne of new graphical features Bejeweled 3 is fully worth the money and time. For all match 3 fans and for those that love easy to play action games with a touch of skill the Bejeweled 3 download is essential gaming that commands the up most respect and energy!
Bejeweled 3 full version download is available for Windows XP or Vista 7. Click here to download the game.