I used to play the original Bejeweled until I wore through my screen protectors! It was a great game that kept my interest for several months. Astraware has now released ‘Bejeweled2’, and I had to see if it would be a new favorite.
Bejeweled2 Opening Screen
Gameplay is similar to the original version. There is a screen full of sparkly jewels, and you swap adjacent gems to try to make horizontal or vertical rows of three or more. When there are no legal moves left, or you complete a level, you are presented with a new screenful. If you don’t make a legal move after several seconds, the screen explodes and its ‘Game Over’. As with the original, sometimes a level is completed and changes just when you’ve got a great play all lined up and ready to execute. Dang! (By the way, when you get the new level, any special gems you had are eliminated, but they usually toss in a couple new ones for you.)
Bejeweled2 ‘Classic’ Game Screens
Bejeweled2 adds a new dimension of gameplay by adding specialty gems. Make four in a row and you get an exploding gem. Make a row of five and you get a hypergem, etc. While this adds some new elements, it really does not seem to move the game to a new dimension for me. Perhaps it is because this is the same thing others have done to games like Breakout and Tetris and it is just too familiar.
Bejeweled2 does add some new games. Where before you had the basic and timed games, Bejeweled2 offers the ‘Classic’ (basic game), ‘Challenge’ (timed game), ‘Puzzle’ and ‘Endless’ variations. ‘Puzzle’ is a bit like Vexed – you are presented with several gems and you must clear the screen without leaving any left-over gems. Interesting variation, especially in the upper levels. ‘Endless’ lets you play forever.
Bejeweled2 Game Choices
Bejeweled2 ‘Puzzle’ Game Screen
The screens are gorgeous. High-res, beautiful images, interesting transitions… but this comes at a price. The game won’t play on many devices, like older Treos and Zires. The game also sucks resources. Even with a Palm Tx, it crashed a couple times when an alarm would come up or I tried to take a screen shot of things like menus. As usual, Astraware gives you a lot of control. There is a menu option for almost everything from the sound to the transitions (as you would have seen had it allowed me to take screen shots!) Astraware is aware of the resource demand issue and offers “Bejeweled2Lite” for owners of newer Palms that can’t quite handle the full version.
Bejeweled2 Menu Screen
I really liked this game. I would have been even more impressed if it would have been a bit more innovative, and if it was a little lighter on my Palm’s resources. I -almost- prefer the original ‘Bejeweled’, which is still available and oddly costs the same as the new version, but this is a good program nonetheless. Oh- speaking of the original, it should be noted that Bejeweled2 is considered a new game, not an upgrade!