There is a reason that PopCap’s classic casual game, Bejewled, has inspired an entire genre of match-three puzzle games. If I had any doubt as to why, it was to put to rest when I spent the entire night playing the new iPad version, Bejewled HD (sold separately for iPhone). It’s not exactly Bejeweled 3, but it’s amazingly close and with five modes of play, still as fresh and fun as it was when the original browser game was released back in 2001.
If by some chance there is a reader out there not familiar with Bejewled in any incarnation the game is very simple. Players swap adjacent tiles to create chains of three or more like-colored gems. When a chain is made the jewels explode of the board making way for more to drop from the top. Longer chains create special jewels with power-ups and in the classic version play continues across a series of levels until no more matches are possible.
Bejeweled HD offers the classic mode with amazingly rich graphics and perfect controls, and like the latest desktop iteration has several other modes of play as well. For those looking for a stress-free marching session the Zen mode not only offers relaxed gameplay, but even soothing ambient sounds and positive affirmations.
There are also two new modes: Butterflies and Diamond Mine. In the former players race the clock to free colorful butterflies from the playing field. They react like regular gems, but don’t let them reach the top of the board or they become a spider’s lunch. In Diamond Mine players try to match gems at the bottom of the screen in order to blast through the ground and keep the game going. There are all sorts of treasures to unearth along the way. Fans of Bejeweled Blitz, a time-sensitive mode, haven’t been left out either. Bejeweled HD links to the free, universal app.
Bejeweled HD is Game Center enabled, has a ton of badges to win, and the Retina graphics are nothing short of stellar, especially on the third generation iPad. I was so enthralled by the look, in fact, I not only topped the leaderboards with my best Classic score ever, I actually had no idea I was doing it.
What makes Bejewled HD such a wonderful and enduring title is that it takes full advantage of everything iOS and the new iPad can do but retains the simplicity and charm of the original game. For casual iPad gamers this one is a no-brainer. Get Bejewelled HD and see why the iconic franchise remains the best in class.
Contest Closed - The winner entered by tweet. Congrats to E Beck @tannawings!