I remember a few years ago when I had my Sony Clie Palm device that the only game worth playing with the lovely touch screen was Bejeweled. I’m sure everyone reading has played it at least once (or maybe zoo keeper or many other names), maybe you liked it maybe you didn’t but for most people it’s addictive and enjoyable.
My girlfriend and I must have spend hours playing that little bugger to death and that was only the trial version, anyway I digress… There is a version of Bejeweled out for Android but the graphics are basically the same as that Palm version I played in 2003 and there’s not much new in the way of features, unlike the PC version which just keep getting better. In comes Jewerlust:
Strangely named but beautifully presented Jewerlust steps up the game with many more features. OK so first off it’s the main screen, as you can see the main play modes “Campaign” and “Survival” In campaign mode you follow a map where it is basically level after level of jewel swapping action broken up by animations of an hourglass moving around the map. It introduces elements like bombs and vertical blasts (more on that in a bit) a level at a time and rack up further scores for speed. To complete a level you must move special gems (which can be swapped but will not react with anything) which slot into the console at the bottom, once you have filled up the “puzzle” you move onto the next level.
The second mode is survival, which is very much the same but the game will continue until your timer runs out. There is a similar “get the special jewel to the bottom” motif which extends your time and refreshes the gamescreen, usually adding an extra type of bomb or jewel type. This is where Jewerlust stands out from the bog standard Bejeweled games, every time you complete the puzzle at the bottom it introduces something new:
There are special jewels which will destroy a whole vertical/horizontal row, ones that freeze the playing board so you are free to swap gems everywhere regardless of reaction and more. It also introduces more and more types of jewels as you progress and sometimes locks gems just to make it even harder.
There is however respite from the difficulty, if you notice at the bottom right of the screen there is a little hammer, you can use this from time to time to smash gems which are annoying or hard to get rid of. The circular pattern on the left under the phoenix builds up over a while and basically destroys half the gems on the board giving you a new lease.
Before I wrap up I’ll also give some praise to the sound design on Jewerlust, the music is pretty average but the sounds that gems make when falling, reacting and unlocking are brilliant. When you get multiple reactions at once your Android device will sound like a infant xylophone orchestra.
Overall I would definitely recommend Jewerlust to anyone who has android, it’s easy to play, fun and addictive with enough variety and difficulty it can keep you playing for hours. It is also very easy to pick up and master.