Bejeweled 2 Review

The PlayStation Network is home to some pretty interesting downloadable titles, but the traditional puzzle category has been a little underrepresented to date.  Sony Online Entertainment has decided to change all of that with the release of a string of PopCap developed casual puzzle titles, the first of which is Bejeweled 2.  Bejeweled 2 is a great game to start with, too, as it's simple but addicting gameplay has served as inspiration for many other games, including the successful PuzzleQuest games. 

Like all good addicting games, the basics of Bejewled 2's gameplay are pretty simple.  The game consists of a grid in which one of seven different colored gems is placed on each square.  The goal is to form rows or columns of three or more like gems by swapping the positions of two adjacent gems.  When a match is made, all of the matching adjacent gems in the row or column are eliminated and the gems in the grid that sit above fall downwards to take the place of the eliminated gems.  If the falling gems form new matching rows or columns, they are in turn eliminated and in this way it's possible to set off chain reactions of exploding gems.

There's more motivation for trying to create rows or columns of four or more gems than simply eliminating an extra gem or two.  If you create a row or column of four, an explosive gem of the same color as the eliminated gems will be left behind.  When this gem is part of a match it will exploded and take out all of the surrounding gems, regardless of color.  Create a match of five or more games and you'll be rewarded with a very special gem that can swap positions with an adjacent gem of any color.  When used to swap positions, all gems on the board that are the same color as the swapped gem will be eliminated.  When this happens there are sure to be plenty of chain reactions as gems fall across the board to fill all of the new gaps.

There are a few modes of play in Bejeweled 2, but they all feature the same gameplay mechanics described above.  The first requires you to eliminate a certain number of gems to complete a level and move on to the next one, with your progress marked on a meter that sits below the gem grid.  The game will end if you ever reach a point where there are no possible moves available.  There is also a timed mode that is similar to the first mode, except that the progress meter is continually drained.  In this mode, making matches is not enough; you need to be able to make those matches quickly.  Both of these modes support online leaderboards, so when your game ends you'll be able to instantly see how your score ranks against the best scores of other gamers.  For those who'd rather not deal with the pressure aspect of these two modes, there is an "endless" mode that eliminates the timer and will forgivingly reset the board should you ever run out of possible moves.  The last mode is a puzzle mode that places a pattern of gems on the grid and challenges you to make a series of moves that will eliminate every gem on the board.  This mode is forgiving of mistakes in that you can at any point undo a move that you didn't like.  In fact you can undo as many moves as you want, even all the way back to the starting point of the puzzle.

It's hard to do the addictive qualities of Bejeweled 2 justice in a review, but this is one of those games that you'll find yourself wanting to give "just one more try" until you've found that you've killed a few hours playing the game.  There's a certain thrill to scanning the grid looking for opportunities for matches and moves with the potential to set off chain reactions.  Bejeweled 2 is a simple game, with simple rules and simple controls, that's simply addicting.  You'll get more hours of enjoyment from this game than you will from many games with a significantly higher price tag. 

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 88% A simple game that's simply addicting.