Herald Sun - Switched On - - Games -

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

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