Mac, PC, $19.95
★★★★★ The Bejeweled games are built on a simple puzzle premise: players must destroy gems by matching three or more of the same colour.
Only one gem can be moved at a time and it can only be moved horizontally or vertically by one space. Create a set of three gems or more and they detonate, causing the gems above to fall.
It is simplicity itself, but 10 years on Bejeweled is as popular as ever. The third instalment is a loving addition to the series: cleanly presented and polished, it’s bursting with modes to eat up players’ precious spare time.
Or, more likely, work time.
Of course, there is more to Bejeweled than matching three gems. Lining up four or five, or formingaTor L shaped block creates super gems that can cause explosions, zap all the gems of a particular colour on the playing field or send lightning blazing across the screen. Using the super gems to set up big explosions and chains is incredibly satisfying.
Bejeweled 3’s modes are a great mix of fresh new entries and reinvigorated staples. Poker sees players building hands by matching sets of sets, and Ice Storm charges players with holding back rising ice columns. Quest mode is almost a full game in and of itself, with 40 distinct challenges that gradually ramp up in difficulty.
Zen is perhaps the most intriguing of the eight modes, because it’s not about scores or competition.
Instead, it’s an endless mode designed to help players relax. To that end, it has several ambient soundscapes from which to choose, such as pattering rain and waterfalls, as well as background hums designed to help alter brain states. Out now.
Gem of a game: there’s a lot of fun to be had playing