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Bejeweled 2 by Astraware, Price: $19.99
Reviewed December 2004 by Marc Morgan

If you've ever played Bejeweled by Astraware before, you know that the gameplay, graphics and sound are almost flawless, and that it's worth all the awards it's gotten. Astraware has released Bejeweled 2, a new version of Bejeweled with new game modes, sounds, and graphics. But does the sequel live up to its best-selling predecessor?

There are four modes of gameplay: Classic, Puzzle, Action, and Endless. In all four modes, the object is to clear as many gems as possible by matching them in threes, fours, or fives. If you match four gems, it creates a power gem that will blow up surrounding gems when it is matched with two more of the same gem. If you match five gems, it will create a hyper cube. In Classic mode, the object is to match up gems to get points and after a certain amount of points, you will advance to the next level, until you stop playing, or you lose. In Puzzle mode, the point is to beat at least four out of five levels or "pods" in a galaxy to warp to another galaxy. The levels here are all pre-defined, and you can go back to the levels by warping back to the galaxy that they were played in. The goal is to finish all the galaxies. In Action mode, the object is to match as many gems as possible before the timer runs out. Every time you match gems, the timer fills back up, though, so if you are good enough, you will play for a long time. In Endless mode, the object is to match gems to get points and fill up the bar at the bottom of the screen to advance to the next level. When you advance to the next level, a jewel fills in a hole in the display that comes up. The object is to fill all the holes in. Although there are different modes, the object of the game stays the same: to match up three or more gems.

Like many other puzzle games, Bejeweled is controlled by tapping the screen with the stylus. To select a gem, you tap it, and to select the gem next to it to switch, you tap it, and they swap. This is very simple and allows for a fast-paced gaming experience. During the game, to bring up the pause menu, you tap on the button that looks like a vertical equals sign, and it slides out to show buttons for the main menu, help, options, mute, and to continue playing. During gameplay, there is a button with a question mark on it, to give you hints. Also, in Puzzle mode, there is a button that looks like five dots around a dot that will bring up the galaxy map, and in endless mode, there is a button that has a picture of a jewel on it to bring up a display of what holes you have filled in with jewels.

A puzzle game is probably one of the hardest games to make good graphics for, especially because there is usually no need for 3D characters, etc. but Astraware usually makes the best of it, and this trend continues with Bejeweled 2. The menus are clear and easy to read and understand, and the use of color is spectacular! Astraware went with a futuristic theme for the graphics, and this worked well. The colors of the gems are bright and vibrant, and there are many different shapes and colors of gems. There are some 3D effects on the buttons on the screen, and this added to the already easy to read and understand interface.

In Bejeweled 2, there are a few different tracks of music that go along with the game. Each of them is different, but they are all catchy and compliment the game nicely. The music doesn't get annoying, and if you need to turn it off or down, you can do so from the options menu. There are also sound effects that come on when you tap on a gem, tap on a menu selection, match 3 or more gems, etc. The sound effects compliment the game perfectly and if need be, you can always turn them down or off from the options menu.

Bejeweled was an almost flawless game, but Astraware managed to make it even better with the release of Bejeweled 2. Adding new game modes made Bejeweled 2 even more addicting than its dangerously-addictive predecessor. The music and sound effects compliment the gameplay, and the stylus control is the best method for playing. Bejeweled 2 is the type of game that will make it onto the best-selling list and collect many awards!

Playing Hints and Tips

Don't take your time, as going faster will get you more points in a shorter amount of time.
Try to match up four or more gems at the same time to get more points.
.Match up gems with power gems and hyper cubes to create explosions and get loads of points.

 

 

 

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Pocket PC

 

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics The colors in Bejeweled 2 are brilliant, and the futuristic-style interface looks great on a puzzle game.
Sound The music and sound effects compliment the game perfectly.
Fun Meter Bejeweled 2 is every bit as fun as the original, but the new modes make it even better.
Addictivity If you thought the original was addicting, you'll find Bejeweled 2 even more addictive.
 


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