Addictive, and somewhat relaxing...
As you would expect, Bejeweled 3 plays exactly like its predecessor.You are given a selection of gems on a sort of Connect 4 board, and you have to then swap them around to match them and score points. Matching at least 3 gems of the same color will give you points, and you have to accumulate as many points as you can until you run out of time, or are unable to make any more moves, depending on the game type. It is a simple formula, granted. But this simple formula is what attracts so many people to this game, and I am one of them. The game is ridiculously fun and, that word again...ADDICTIVE. Of course, this is the same formula that has been used for years now, and hasn't really been given any significant advancements in this game, apart from the exciting new game modes offered.
The usual game modes that the series is know for are back in this game, some the exact same and some with a slight twist. Classic mode makes a comeback, and in this mode, you match the gems, score points and advance through the many levels that's it throws at you, and it ends when you are unable to make any more moves. There is no timer in this mode, so you can take it slow, and try to figure out the best moves to take. Being under pressure is better saved for the other game modes that Bejeweled 3 offers. A new story mode, dubbed "Quest" mode is on offer, in which you go through a series of chapters solving puzzles to fill up jewels in a relic. For each chapter of the story, you are given 8 choices of puzzles to finish so you can fill up the relic. To advance to the next chapter, you have to complete 4 of the puzzles to start filling up the slots. But to save this game mode being too linear, you are given the choice of which puzzles you want to complete. If you're feeling adventurous, you can still complete all 8 puzzles on each level to fully fill up the relic if you so wish, the game doesn't stop you from doing so.
Lightning is another game mode, and functions similar to Blitz mode. You are racing against the clock to clear as many gems as possible. But when the clock is nearly empty, you are given the chance to extend your time by clearing some special gems that appear on the board. This is a pressurizing mode that will keep your finger clicking, and is a great mode when you need a fast paced challenge.
Zen mode is the one that really caught my eye though. This is basically Endless mode from previous games. But instead, you are given several options designed to relax you further while you are clearing the gems. You can turn on this such as peaceful sounds like waterfalls and rainforests, display several positive thinking messages on the bottom of the screen and much more. I was looking forward to trying this mode out to see if it would really help me relax. And sure enough, it really helped me relax. In fact, it put me in a better mood. I felt really really relaxed. When you're having a bad day, this is a good way to let off some steam.
Other modes include my new personal favorite, Poker mode, in which you have to create well known poker hands by matching specific colored gems. For instance, to gain a full house, you have to match 3 sets of red gems, and 2 sets of yellow gems. This is an interesting twist and a very enjoyable one as well. Ice storm is another, in which you have to match sets of gems before the board becomes frozen. It's not necessarily game over if a part of the board becomes frozen, its only if the whole board is frozen does the game finally end. The other two modes are "Butterflies" and "Diamond Mine". In Butterflies, while you are matching gems, some of those gems become "Butterfly Gems", and you have to try and match them as soon as you can, before it moves to the top, and gets eaten by the spider, which is lurking on top of the board. And Diamond Mine has you basically matching gems to dig up some gold to gain points. But to dig up the gold , you need to match the gems at the bottom of the board. These modes are all completely different, but there really is something here for everyone to enjoy, and a wide variety of modes will keep you coming back for more.
Despite all these new modes, there is no escaping the fact that this is the same game that you have played over and over again. But the biggest saving grace is that it doesn't get old. You will enjoy it as much as the last time you played it. Bejeweled 3 is a great game, the best game in the series, but still feels the same as the rest.