In the past, an archaeologist was on a treasure hunt for the fabled Tonatiuh, The Temple of the Fifth Sun. To reach the location, he had to conquer portals by realigning relics according to an ancient description. He wrote his progress into his Jewel Quest
Today, while arranging manuscripts for the university, he stumbled across his old journal and now he wants to try it again. The player takes the persona of the unnamed archaeologist writing more notes into his journal as he goes.
Each level represents one dot on the treasure map, leading from the airplane take down point to the location of the temple. There are five advancement categories for progression beginning with Explorer and ending in Researcher. All levels within all categories must be completed to reach the treasure. However, if a level is too difficult, the opportunity to skip it presents itself at a cost of one life (out of five). It is possible to attain up to ten total lives during the game.
The objective in a level is to do exactly what the ancient script states, "Align the relics you can see, across or down in groups of three. Turn all squares to solid gold, the path to riches will soon unfold."
So, for example, at the start of level 1-1 (first level in the first group), a 7x7 grid appears, each block filled with one of four different items (relics). Exchange adjacent items so that a line of three or up to five items will be created (more than five is possible, but this can't be done manually). Those items will vanish and the ground will change from beige to gold, the spaces will fill with the items from above, and new items fall in from the top of the playfield. Once all blocks are gold, the level is completed. When the time runs out, one life is lost.
While the level progresses, there are bigger playfields or more complex ones. Complex means that they are not always in square or rectangle form, but, for example, they can also have a zigzag side, where either horizontal or vertical alignments aren't possible. More relics are added in the playfield, and also the time becomes shorter.
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