Astraware Bejeweled 2 is a Gem

I like handheld games. I spend a good bit of time playing games on my Windows Mobile handheld and on my Nintendo DS. There have never been, for me, enough good games written for the Windows mobile platform. For all the potential there, the selections have too frequently been knockoffs of each other.

A while back, I bought and played the original Bejeweled, and although I enjoyed it, it didn’t exactly “wow” me. It’s gameplay was basically that of match 3-or-more to remove objects. The variation, however, is that more pieces fall into place, and there are special objects that perform more effective removals. The gameplay was a little choppy, but still playable. So, while Bejeweled was a fun, and certainly popular game, I wasn’t overly impressed.

Now now some time goes by and I’m presented with the opportunity to try out the new Bejeweled 2. I started it up expecting a small variation on the original. What I got was a much improved display, smoother gameplay, and more play options.

The original had two variations of the game – normal and timed. This time around you have 4 different modes: Classic, Endless, Puzzle, and Action. There are also a number of unlockable bonus play modes.

Classic mode is what used to be called the “Easy” or Normal mode. Within this mode you used to have an option for continuous play. This is now called Endless mode. What used to be called the Timed mode is pretty much what is now called the Action mode. Lastly, they’ve added a new mode called Puzzle mode where you must find a way to remove all the jewels on the board to move on.

What I Liked: The graphics are simply gorgeous. I really enjoyed the background visuals. They were attractive without getting in the way of gameplay. It is a big enhancement over the original version of the program.

What Needs Improvement: The online help. The help section was limited to talking about the types of combinations that could be made and this help was displayed every time you started a new type of game. Where was the description of the game type itself? Why not tell me about the Classic vs. the Puzzle vs. the Action vs. Endless. A brief one page explanation of the choices would have been nice. Also an explanation of general gameplay would be good. For example, when playing in the Action mode, at first, I couldn’t figure out why, when gameplay seemed to be going well, the screen would seen to randomly change to a new screen, causing me to lose momentum. Then, I eventually realized that this really only happened when I removed enough matches to fill the meter on the left. But I have to say – you do eventually figure these things out.

Overall: I really like this game a lot. It’s very addictive. I’m not as addicted a some past players here at Gear Diary, but I definitely have spent a fair amount of time playing the different variations of the game available in Bejeweled 2. An popular old favorite gets a worthy upgrade. Highly recommended!

Bejeweled 2 is available from Astraware
MSRP: $19.95

Categories: Reviews

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