Bejeweled 2 (PlayStation 3) review
"PopCap Games first developed Bejeweled and released it in the Flash format back in 2001. Since then, the title has appeared on nearly every gaming platform known to man, ranging from the PC to mobile phones, the Xbox 360 and now the PlayStation Network store. Predictably, it plays the same on the PlayStation 3 as it did on Xbox Live Arcade, on the PC and—well, you get the idea."
PopCap Games first developed Bejeweled and released it in the Flash format back in 2001. Since then, the title has appeared on nearly every gaming platform known to man, ranging from the PC to mobile phones, the Xbox 360 and now the PlayStation Network store. Predictably, it plays the same on the PlayStation 3 as it did on Xbox Live Arcade, on the PC and--well, you get the idea.
The game looks exactly as you would expect it to but in high-definition form. Bright and pretty, lots of shiny effects... that kind of thing. Available backgrounds are actually pretty impressive. Even if they weren't, though, people don't ever buy a PopCap Games release for the graphical presentation.
In case you're not familiar with the gameplay mechanics, I'll explain them to you. I'm supposed to be nice like that. The basic idea is that you must match the same coloured/shaped gems by swapping their positions to form chains of three or more. For every gem that you match, you'll receive points and a boost to the bar at the bottom of the screen which, when full, results in a level-up. If you can't find anything to move you can press 'Triangle' for a hint, but doing so takes some of the energy from your reserves. It's probably still worth it.
If you match 4 gems, you'll get an even shinier gem of the same type that explodes when you match it in a later combo. If you match 5 gems, you'll receive a glowing gem that can remove all gems of that hue from the level when positioned appropriately.
Four game modes are available right from the start, with another five that you can unlock by performing specific tasks. For example, one might require that you complete a certain level. Another is unlocked in a completely different manner that I'll let you figure out for yourself. I'm pure evil.
As far as the modes go, "Classic" mode is the... classic... Bejeweled design. The only way to lose a game is to run out of moves. The "Action" mode is like the timed mode from the first Bejeweled; you start with your meter halfway full and your goal is to fill it up by breaking gems, at which point you'll be transported to the next challenge. Then there's "Puzzle" mode, where you must clear all gems from a level. If any remain at the end, you'll either have to start over or undo a few moves until you get it right. To 'warp to the next set of levels, you must complete four of the five that comprise the set you are currently attempting. Then you can skip ahead, which is useful if you find yourself completely stuck on one specific challenge. You can skip it! Besides that, there are a few special gems such as bombs that explode after you make a certain number of moves (a countdown timer displays on each one) and rocks (which only vanish when you cause them to explode). All puzzles start out simple but eventually progress to the point where you'll start to suspect that you should take your brain out and clean it. Of course, you can always access hints if you just can't find the answer to a particular puzzle. Finally, there's the "Endless" mode. You can't lose this one, unless perhaps you play for 2 hours, show up late for work, get fired, can't pay your bills and wind up living on the street while holding your PS3 like it's going to buy you dinner. That's not the game's fault, though.
Games like Bejeweled 2 live or die based on their addictive qualities. This particular outing has no reason to worry; it delivers the goods just as it always has. It's addictive fun, complete with trophies and custom soundtracks, resulting in a decent package that's made even better by the opportunity to replace PopCap's generic music with selections from your own library. Whether or not this newest version of the casual favorite justifies its price point, however, comes down to nothing more than how much or how little you like Bejeweled.
Freelance review by Gareth Chadwick (June 04, 2009)
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