Even before the casual gaming business began booming, PopCap Games was helping gamers idle away a few minutes with addictive puzzle games. One of the most popular of those games, Bejeweled, saw first release in 2000 and has since sold more than 50 million units, spawning a host of copycat and one-offs in the process. Today, PopCap announced that the latest installment in that puzzle series, Bejeweled 3, will be available for the PC on December 7.
Bejeweled 3 will not stray far from the tried-and-true match-three style of puzzle gameplay. The game's simple play mechanics see players presented with a field of gems, with the goal of swapping the place of two adjacent baubles to form a sequence of three or more and clear them from the board. The game awards bonus points and score multipliers for extended sequences.
As for the changes in Bejeweled 3, PopCap has crafted a 40-mission quest mode, which includes 11 minigames that meld classic Bejeweled play with other "classic game mechanics." The game also includes updated versions of four modes previously seen in Bejeweled 2, which saw first release in 2004. Other new riffs on the Bejeweled formula include Ice Storm and Poker game types.
Bejeweled 3 will be available through PopCap.com as well as other digital distribution portals and retail outlets for $20.