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Bejeweled 2 (PC) artwork

Bejeweled 2 (PC) review

"Adding to the fun are the fruits of putting together four- and five-jewel combos. The former creates a magical sparkly jewel that, if placed into a line of three, will create an explosion to clear out ALL surrounding gems. The latter causes a weird amoeba-like shape to appear. If you find yourself stuck, you can click on it and any surrounding gem to make all of that color get eradicated."

I'm not the most competitive gamer out there. I'd rather meander through RANDOM JRPG #48574 in solitude than jump online to trade headshots with the Call of Duty peeps and when I get together with my best friend for an afternoon of gaming, we pick something we can cooperate on. Even when we were big into the Tecmo (old-school) and EA Sports (more recent) football games, we'd simply hand off the control after every quarter or half with the goal being to win the Super Bowl together.

That doesn't mean I don't have limits. I can be pushed into being as cutthroat as anyone -- it just takes certain circumstances and my eyes turn red, my blood boils and I make it my ONLY goal in life to crush the fool who prodded me to don my crown and show who the damn king is!

So anyway, some number of months ago, my mom had this new computer and a game that one of her friends said she'd like. Since she's not the most technologically savvy person out there, I said I'd install it for her. Which was my introduction to Bejeweled 2. Slow-paced, cerebral puzzle games aren't really my thing, as evidenced by just how quickly that Hexic dealie that came with my XBox 360 got deleted from my hard drive, but that soon changed.

Occasionally, while visiting, I'd play a quick game or two for the hell of it, typically in the game's Classic mode. I like that mode. It's a relaxing way to spend a little bit of time when the sporting event we had on TV turned ugly…or when she abruptly changed the channel to check on the weather. The screen fills with jewels of various colors and you have to swap them with adjoining ones to make lines of three of the same color; which causes them to disappear and be replaced by new jewels. After you've made enough matches, you'll move to the next level where you do the same thing (except it takes more matches to advance again). Eventually, you'll run out of point-scoring moves and the game ends.

Adding to the fun are the fruits of putting together four- and five-jewel combos. The former creates a magical sparkly jewel that, if placed into a line of three, will create an explosion to clear out ALL surrounding gems. The latter causes a weird amoeba-like shape to appear. If you find yourself stuck, you can click on it and any surrounding gem to make all of that color get eradicated. Not only will you get points for every destroyed jewel, but you'll also get a new lease on life in that game.

I'd play Bejeweled 2 once or twice every two or three weekends when I'd visit her. She'd play most nights. Not only the Classic mode, but the other three. Two of them didn't really attract my attention. Endless goes on forever. I don't think it's possible to run out of matches, so you play until you get bored. Without the worry that any move could be my last, that got boring in a hurry. Puzzle mode just sets you up with challenges to remove specific combinations of jewels from the screen. There's no "top score" board, as the goal is to solve puzzles -- not put up points. Action mode was more interesting. Like Classic, as you make matches, a bar at the bottom of the screen fills to indicate your progress towards reaching the next level. Unlike Classic, that bar starts out partially filled and gradually depletes with the game ending if it gets completely empty -- making it more stressful than the other modes, especially when you're frantically looking for any jewel you can move in those final seconds before the end.

After a few months, my mom got pretty good at this game. Not world record good or anything, but good enough that she had a near monopoly on the Classic Top 10 board. During one visit or another, I'd have a rare good showing, but only would have one or two good enough to get registered. She wouldn't let me hear the end of it. Seemingly every time I visited or talked to her on the phone, it was "I knocked you down another notch" this or "You're not on the board any more" that.

And that was the end of me playing that game recreationally. Battle lines had been crossed.

As I write this review, I'm proud to say that I have the top score on Classic. By about 25,000 over my mom's best. It took what seemed like a million failures, but I finally came up with a good strategy and it worked to perfection. I focused on the top part of the screen and only moved below the first few rows when necessary. I didn't have all that many of those huge, sexy chains where one jewel combo sets up another and then another and another while I'm just watching with a look of awe as my point total goes higher and higher, but I also wasn't sabotaging future moves and setting my game up for a premature end. With this strategy, if I want, I could wipe her out of the Top 10 eventually if I so desire. VICTORY IS MINE!!!

Well, except for one minor little factor called Action mode. She still has a monopoly on its Top 10 and there's no way my newfound style will work there. When I got my chart-topper in Classic, there were times the top rows were bereft of matches and I struggled to find a viable move for some time. Occasionally until the computer finally got bored waiting and pointed out a gem I could use to make a combo of some sort. You just can't have those long, awkward pauses here or your game WILL end quickly.

Back to the drawing board, I guess, because I HAVE to win. Guess I'm more competitive at these things than I thought.


overdrive's avatar
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (October 14, 2011)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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