Cradle of Egypt 2 Review
Jewel Master: Cradle of Egypt 2 is a match-three puzzle game, where boards are cleared by matching three or more of a kind while on a timer. There are five epochs, each with four phases, and multiple boards or levels for each phase, providing you with nearly 100 boards to clear. As the game progresses, the boards gradually become more complex, increasing the level of interest and challenge.
Similar to other match-three games, a power-up is obtained when five or more adjacent squares are matched, allowing you to clear the surrounding four squares and the square the power-up is on. However, the real power comes from the bonuses. Bonuses reside outside of the board and can be played as needed, once they have fully charged. Bonuses are powered-up by matching three specific objects: each time the objects are matched, the bonus power increases. Once full, the bonus may be used, but then must again recharge.
As the complexity of the levels increase, the shape or pattern of the boards becomes more challenging, with narrower passages or more nooks. Also, chains or ice squares will need to be broken or thawed before the blocked squares may be accessed for clearing. Chains are broken by matching them in a set of three, while ice is thawed by creating a match of three in the squares above. This provides an interesting challenge in the puzzle, although some icons or jewels are a bit too obscured behind the chains for easy identification. Some boards also have skull faces that undo cleared squares if the skulls are matched in threes, and higher level boards will need to be cleared multiple times before the level is achieved.
Between each phase, you have the option of completing a picture by sliding puzzle squares into place, thus allowing you to buy the next phase in the epoch. This is a fun twist to the game that may be skipped, if wanted. You can collect trophies for accomplishing feats such as solving twenty levels without losing a single one, unlocking all bonuses, or for solving a level in less than a minute. You may also collect citizens and earn food, resources, and gold. No lives are lost so the game does not force you to restart: only the last board is restarted. There are also additional modes: Tourney Mode allows you to access previously played boards and a speed-game Blitz Mode.
One noted difference from other match-three games is that the columns do not fill in by falling in a straight line. Instead, the objects may fall from the left, right, or above, making executing a planned strategy nearly impossible. Despite the game's randomness, all levels are solvable in a reasonable number of tries and as your skill increases, so too will your success at clearing the levels.
Jewel Master: Cradle of Egypt 2 is an enjoyable game to play. If you are a strict strategy player, you may find the randomness of this game frustrating; however our strategist found she kept going back to 'play-one-more-level' until she conquered the game. Jewel Master works well as a handheld, since each level may be completed in a reasonable amount of time. If you are a match-three fan, you'll enjoy the variety of boards and the bonuses provide a fun alternative tool.
Final Rating: 80%. Match-three gameplay with bonus powers that add a fun twist to the game.