Bejeweled has been around for almost a decade, and its popularity is showing no signs of waning. From the original browser game released in 2001 to the 2008 re-envisioning in Bejeweled Twist, practically every person who's ever touched a computer knows about the series. PopCap invests a lot of effort into the scarce Bejeweled sequels, and as soon as you see what Bejeweled 3 has to offer, you'll appreciate the extra attention that was put in to getting you hooked on gem swapping all over again.
The core experience of Bejeweled 3 remains unchanged from previous releases, maintaining that smooth look and familiar layout we could all sketch out in our sleep. Matching four or five gems creates Flame Gems and Hypercubes, which help clear large chunks of the screen at once, and if you create two intersecting matches, you get a Star Gem. These bonuses are constant throughout most of the game, rewarding you for being wily with your swapping skills with big, pretty special effects and a nice clear game grid.
Where the game really captures your attention, though, are the extra modes that incorporate goals, challenges, and twists on the Bejeweled formula. Four modes are available from the start: Classic, Zen, Lightning, and Quest. Hitting certain milestones in each of these unlocks four additional modes. You'll probably start with Classic, which is exactly what the name implies and lets you work your way into higher, more challenging levels by matching gems to fill up a meter. Lightning mode is a race against the clock where you have to match time gems to keep the hourglass from emptying. Then there's Quest mode, a hefty experience that's packed with mini-game-style levels built around a single goal. Time Bomb, for example, asks you to match ten bomb gems before the timer hits zero, and Alchemy challenges you to turn the whole grid into gold by making matches that spread to each column and row. The list goes on, and there's no shortage of challenge to be found in Quest mode!
Here's what you might not expect to get from Bejeweled 3: a serious relaxation tool. Most games feature a Zen mode that strips timers and other stressful features from gameplay. Bejeweled 3 goes about ten steps further and adds a host of customizable tools that help you relax. For starters, you can change the background music to ambient sounds like rain falling through leaves or waves on the beach. Then, incorporate positive mantras or binaural beats to create new patterns in your brain that put you in a different state of mind. Finally, breath modulation uses audio and visual cues to regulate breathing patterns, a great first step in soothing your nerves. PopCap designed Zen mode with actual studies in mind, and reducing anxiety is something so very few games can lay claim to.
Analysis: Bejeweled 3 is a whole lot of Bejeweled. It's no wonder the series is the flagship for the match-3 genre. PopCap has really outdone itself with this installment, and as you can clearly see from the wall of text above, it's more than just moving things around a grid. Even though the core mechanic of gem swapping is the game, it somehow manages to be different all over again.
Particularly interesting in Bejeweled 3 are the fun unlockable modes. You don't have to play for very long to gain access to them, and once you do, you'll probably stick with them for a very long time. I had the most fun with Poker, a mode that turns your matches into cards that must be combined to form valid poker hands. Each hand scores points, and as the game progresses, easier hands become locked, forcing you to get smarter and smarter with your moves. There's also Diamond Mine (a reference to Bejeweled's original name, no doubt), which turns your gem matching into a digging tool. Very cool!
If there's any room for improvement in Bejeweled 3, it would be with Zen mode. A lot of work and research already went in to creating this effective relaxation tool, but once you play it, you'll want more. With the breathing tool turned on and ambient sounds soothing your ears, it's sometimes jarring to have gems exploding from your speakers and the game's color-filled effects shaking up the screen. Bejeweled 3's visual effects are stunning, so no complaints there, but when you're on the verge of a total brain zone out, a little more plainness would be a good thing.
A near perfect experience, just like you'd expect, Bejeweled 3 is the next generation of match-3 puzzle games. It looks amazing, it plays smoothly, it's got challenge, relaxation, replayability, and lots of badges to earn and things to achieve. Get ready to start the addiction all over again!
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This game received a score of 9 out of 10 in Game Informer magazine and received Gold and Game of the Month awards along with Pac-Man Championship Edition DX in their January 2011 issue.
I can't wait to play it. :)
I agree that Bejeweled is great, I've never seen something as well-thought as Zen Mode, trying the trial before I choose between Super Meat Boy and this (Meat Boy having a flash game which I liked). Thanks for the news JIG!
Just bought this game and I have to say that it's brilliant! A real step up from the previous two Bejeweleds. I only heard about Bejeweled 3 a few weeks ago but I've been anxiously awaiting its release, so thanks for the news!
I'm assuming this doesn't connect with facebook's high scores.
Am I right?
[Correct. There is nothing in this game that connects with Facebook. -Jay]
I never thought I'd hear of someone trying to decide between Super Meat Boy and Bejeweled 3, the games being almost polar opposites in their philosophy of game design. Interesting.
Wow, Popcap really know their stuff. For a few hours there, I don't think it was physically possible for me to do anything other than play Diamond Mine mode.
By the way, the sentence in the review about said mode seems like it has a typo. What is a "digging cool"?
Are there any special codes like in the second one that change the appearance of the game?
OMG is this game addictive! It's not just the classic game of Bejeweled, there are now so many unique games all in one package!
My favorites are Poker and Diamond Mine. Except now that I've scored fairly high in Poker, it's not as much fun to go back through it all over again.
Diamond Mine, however, is way more addictive that it has any right to be. That mode should be on a list of controlled substances! :O
Having spent several hours on Diamond Mine, I can vouch for its addictiveness; I think it's the best mode. I tried two strategies: attack the bottom (worked poorly) and make as much explody stuff as possible, especially stars (works ok? I can't seem to get over 500k). Why is it so fun even when I'm so terrible at it?
I thought the quest mode was a bit too easy. Perhaps it's because I've been playing this game for so many years, but the whole thing barely took longer than the trial period.
And one thing I can't seem to figure out: What determines when time-bonus gems drop in Lightning mode? Is it random? Is it related to score? I feel like when I get a good speed-bonus groove going that they tend to drop more, but it's hard to play and keep statistics at the same time... Does anybody have a guess?
I agree with everything in X's post, including the questions about Lightning Mode. Except my high score is about 680k in Diamond Mine. I usually lose when I get restricted to one possible match, and it's near the top of the board, and I can't get the possible match to migrate down the board at all.
The one improvement I wish for in Diamond Mine is some sort of gauge that gradually fills up as you make matches, and when it fills, you can unleash some sort of super digging power once. That way, I'd feel like I was accomplishing something even when I'm flailing around, and I'd have a reset button for when the game randomly screws me. To keep that from being unbalanced, the gauge would have to fill very slowly, of course.
I think I'd buy a game that was just a bunch of variations on Diamond Mine. I'm not even sure what that would be like, but I'd buy it.
Poker and Diamond Mine modes are the most interesting ones. Poker having completely different gameplay then everything else, blowing up large groups can be really bad for example. Diamond Mine, on the other hand, pretty much relies on big explosions.
I also did enjoy Butterflies mode.
The Lightning and its unlockable Ice mode I did not like much. Too fast and not sure what exactly is going on.
I love the Bejeweled games, I have purchased all three of the games. They are truly addictive I can't seem to get enough of these games.
I love the butterfly mode it keeps me busy trying hard, so the spider won't eat up my beauties.
Diamond mine and the lighting is my challange to accomplish.
I have accomplish the Quest mode, I have a 100% on that.
I have Bejeweled 3 and my McAfee virus has given me a note saying that Bejeweled is trying to access the internet. Is this OK?
[Yes, of course it's fine. -Jay]
I love Bejeweled 3!! My favorite mode is Butterflies! Love it!
Of all the versions of Bejeweled I have played, this has to be the best one. The graphics are a lot better, and one of the coolest things I've noticed is the backgrounds are animated. Unlike previous versions, which are just landscapes, these actually show some animation, like birds flying around a statue, or water flowing, or fireflies in a forest.
I have to agree with the other sentiments about Diamond Mine mode. That is so addictive, and can be so frustrating. I think my highest score I've gotten is 902,000, but I usually tend to hit about 200-400K.
I bought my copy a few months ago and it came with a free copy of Bejeweled Blitz. BJ3 does not connect with your Facebook and upload scores; but BJ Blitz will, if you allow it.
Help! to get the annihilator badge, you must match two hypercubes. I have put two hypercubes together, but no annihilator badge. what am i missing?
Great article, I agree that Poker and Diamond Mine are very fun. I also have an addiction to Lightning Mode, because getting BLAZING SPEED is really fun and gets tons of points. Also, the music in that mode is terrific; Peter Hajba (Skaven) is a genius. Bejeweled's music has always been good 'cause of him, it was best in Bejeweled 2, but nice here too with throwbacks to some of the old tunes.
I'm glad there are so many game modes, because I'm not crazy about of some of them, particularly the Ice Storm one. I'm actually really good at it, I just find it to be annoying for some reason. This is the order of modes for me, from more fun to less fun (in my opinion):
(Zen isn't on the list cause I admittedly haven't played it much)
My highest score is on Ice Storm (ironically) with 902,620 points. I think the badges are a great feature, they cash in on the popular "achievements" trend and are fun to unlock. I stand firm in my belief that the platinum "Ice Breaker" and "Butterfly Bonanza" badges are impossible to get though. I'm going to spend many more hours on those. O_O
Overall, definitely the best Bejeweled yet. They pulled out all the stops; I don't even know how they can go further than this.
@EbbTide - did you have two Hypercubes next to each other, and physically drag one into the other? If you did that and got no badge, then I don't know what's wrong. When you do though, you should automatically get the blaster badge. I got about 5 badges, including those, in one Classic game. :D
Is there any way to turn off the timer in Diamond Mine. I just want to see a diamond.. Just once!
Are there even ANY diamonds in the Diamond Mine mode? I've yet to see / find even at a depth of 140 meters ?
anyone score one yet?
YES... there are DIAMONDS... I found my first at 160 meters depth and scored 2% ($4,ooo) so I think that the combination of speed, vertical depth obtained (passed 150 meters) and using as much heavily loaded up gems for maximun explosions and damaage will be the key to rxcavating/extracting more Diamond.. Good Luck!!!