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Written by  :  Andy Voss (1875)
Written on  :  Dec 14, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars

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Like fast food - addictive, but it might leave a sick feeling

The Good

Bejeweled 2 makes for a nice relaxing diversion. I wasn't planning on getting addicted to the game, and here I am, over 100,000 gem matches later. :) The backgrounds are very attractive, and the colorful gems and menus build on that enjoyability. The sound effects work well, and have the range from quiet to loud that they need. Learning curve is of course very small. There isn't even a manual! You'll get the hang of it after the first few tip screens, and after a while develop a bit of strategy. The puzzle mode is an interesting diversion, and you'll be surprised how tricky the simplest looking grids can be. If you get good enough in the Action mode, you'll unlock a bonus play mode - I won't spoil it for you. :)

I'm mixed about the music. The quality is good and it sets a relaxing mood, and it's long enough to not get too tedious. But more variety and more upbeat parts wouldn't hurt.

The Bad

I'm calmly moving around jewels, and without warning, I suddenly run out of moves and a deep, loud voice bellows "NO MORE MOVES", and the jewels shake and explode. Still gives me a jolt, I tell you. Even Freecell tells you when you only have one move left.

Hints should only be given if you ask for them. I'm often thinking "no no, don't tell me, I'll find it!". Also, I'm not sure the levels in Classic mode get progressively difficult. The potential number of matches at the start of each level seems random. The first Classic level is unique - you will not run out of moves (believe me, I've had plenty of opportunities :).

Maybe I haven't discovered them yet, but some more special gems, other than the 4x powergem and 5x hypercube, would be cool. How about the timebombs from the Puzzle mode? Or colliding two hypercubes together?

An online "hall of fame" with score submittal would be nice, but doesn't detract from the game itself.

The Bottom Line

The problem with paying more for a shareware game online than you would a retail game at your local software store is that you can feel like you're not getting your money's worth. Replayability is crucial. Fortunately this game is developed enough for such a simple premise. So enjoy yourself, but be prepared for a little frustration along the way.