Jewel Quest sticks a little too close to the Bejeweled formula for its own good, but it does require you to master a different set of strategies.
- Sharp, well-defined graphics
- Good sense of style
- Gets very addictive.
- This is just Bejeweled with a slight twist
- Too expensive.
Jewel Quest is a Bejeweled-style puzzle game that asks you to swap tiles on a playfield in order to form rows or columns of three or more of the same type of tile. The difference from Bejeweled is that the playfields take on different shapes, and also you must make a match on every tile in the level in order to move on. These differences do set it apart from Bejeweled and require you to think about different types of strategies to make matches happen in different spots.
You'll also be racing against a clock. You get points for each match you make and bonus points for the time remaining on the clock when you complete a level. Those points eventually grant you extra lives, which come in handy, because the game's playfields get more and more complicated as you play. Your level scores also get posted to various online leaderboards. The game wraps its puzzles in an Indiana Jones-like archaeology theme, with diary rants about gems and puzzles appearing between each level. Overall, the game looks good for a puzzle game. The different tiles are nicely detailed and fit with the "dig" theme. The music in the game gets somewhat repetitive, but there are at least a few different appropriately ominous-sounding themes.
The control in the game is very simple. You will use only the D pad (or the analog stick, if that's your thing) and the A button. You can swap tiles one space in any direction, but the move is legal only if it creates a match. While using the mouse and keyboard to play the PC version of the game is a little more effective and speedy, the control here is just fine.
It's unfortunate for Jewel Quest that Bejeweled 2 is already available on the Xbox Live Arcade. While this game does make its share of changes to the formula and can get just as addictive, overall it's still too similar to recommend to puzzle fans, who are already playing Bejeweled. Plus, the 800-point price ($10 at current point-conversion rates) seems a little steep for Jewel Quest. But if you've got Marketplace points to burn, you like puzzle games, and for some reason you're done with or don't want to mess with Bejeweled 2, Jewel Quest is a competent and often-challenging puzzle game that will keep you occupied for a decent amount of time.