Demivision and Jamdat have given millions of Bejeweled fans the world around cause to celebrate. Bejeweled Multiplayer is more than just a masterful mobile port; its multiplayer functionality is second to none and will keep any puzzle fan coming back for more.
The basic rules of Bejeweled Multiplayer are the same as the original PopCap game. By switching adjacent gems, you create runs of three or more identical stones. With each switch, the string of identical gems disappears, the ones above the string drop down, and you continue matching. The game lasts as long as your timer does, with successful matches earning you more time to play.
The Demivision/Jamdat version adds three new wrinkles. First of all, you play against someone else. Secondly, at least four kinds of bombs can be found on the board, each of which has a different and fairly devastating effect on your opponent. Thirdly, you can use the multiplayer feature anywhere in the world.
You can start a two-player game by choosing an opponent by a range of criteria (including wins/losses or skill level) or by being matched with the first available opponent. While you wait for a match, you can play against the computer. With more and more people playing every day, the wait is getting shorter. When you first encounter your opponent, you see his or her skill level and win/loss record, and then you begin. The Bejeweled board materializes before you, and in the right corner, you also see your opponent's game. The timer, instead of moving right to left toward zero, shows both your time and your opponent's time remaining.
Jamdat went further than merely implementing multiplayer; it also invented Bejeweled bombs. By placing special gems in strings, you earn bombs to use against your opponent. There are various types, like freeze, zero-G, crazy keys, cascade, and others, each of which affects your opponent (and you) in different, disconcerting ways. Bomb effects wear off after about five seconds, but it feels like forever because you can see your opponent clearing gems from his or her board while you recover from the aftershocks of the attack.
Bejeweled purists may shutter at changes to their sacred game, but the bombs add a tremendous amount of novelty and variety. This is the kind of innovation that we need more of in the mobile games world.
While Bejeweled Multiplayer's graphics are a little on the murky side (it's sometimes a little difficult to distinguish between different types of gems), it hardly touches the game's overall virtuosity. Download it and give it a spin; you'll be amazed at what a mobile phone can do.