Over the years Pop Cap games have been focused on bringing gamers a peaceful yet frantic experience throughout its Bejeweled games. Think of it like an interactive Yin and Yang experience where the cycle between relaxation and intensification are in a harmonious balance that are constantly in motion and all the time highly addictive. Bejeweled 3 offers gamers a wealth of content that will constantly satisfy your craving for destroying shiny gems over, and over, and over again. The ultimate goal of any videogame (arcade or retail) is to provide gamers with an experience that they will enjoy and that will keep them playing for years to come. While some companies have tried and failed at this philosophy, Pop Cap understands this all too well.
Providing multiple gametypes adds a lot to the replay value of any game and in Bejeweled 3 you get a total of eight gametypes:
1) Classic - This is the original untimed version of Bejeweled that we all know and love. Just keep smashing gems until you run out of possible moves!
2) Lightning - Think of this like a version of Bejeweled Blitz where you can smash time gems to increase the duration of the game. While it's not Blitz mode, it does offer some of the similar enjoyment.
3) Zen - An endless game without any time or move limitations. Just sit back, relax and watch the hours just melt away.
4) Ice Storm - A frantic race against time as you watch multiple pillars of ice race to the top of your columns in an attempt to freeze your progress. Your only hope, smash the pillars before you're frozen.
5) Diamond Mine - A twist where you use your gem matching ability to dissolve the ground underneath your gems and uncover gold and treasure below. Combined with a timer that replenishes somewhat after each round and you have a very frantic yet explosive gametype.
6) Butterflies - A thinking twist to the Bejeweled games. Different colored butterflies will work their way to the spider at the top, so you must set them free by combining the right colored gems.
7) Poker - Keep making same colored matches and build a hand ranging from one pair to flush. This is one of the weaker points of Bejeweled 3, but we'll get to that here in a moment.
8) Quest - 40 unique and challenging puzzles from all different gametypes and all containing some form of goal that must be achieved to progress onward.
While Bejeweled 3 does offer a lot in the form of types of games, a couple of them stand out to me in a detached way because they don't feel like a Bejeweled game. Poker and Butterflies both require a more tactful approach where you must start to think moves ahead in order to plan your way to victory. That seems a bit out of the ordinary for a Bejeweled game since most of the time you are frantically flying around the screen destroying everything in your path. While some of the other modes are more addicting, Poker and Butterflies games don't seem to fit and in the end seem more like they were put in there just to give more value to the game.
One component that I thought would have made this game go from good to great would be the inclusion of multiplayer. Unfortunately for some reason unknown to us, Pop Cap has decided not to include any multiplayer at all in Bejeweled 3. This sort of takes away a core that was widely used in other previous Bejeweled games and makes the game feel like it's missing it's other half. Another exclusion is the Blitz and Twist modes. I would have been happy had Poker and Butterflies been replaced with these two modes, but then again I didn't make the game.
Is Bejeweled 3 worth the MS points? Well if you enjoy a great puzzle game by yourself then yes, but if you would rather play with others online then no. Even though there is a ton of content in this game, it's all singleplayer. It almost seems like Pop Cap could have done more with this title and maybe they will, but with the exclusion of multiplayer and some of the more popular modes of Bejeweled, Pop Cap's Bejeweled 3 is something to pick up, but wait till it's on sale.