DSiWare | PopCap Games | 1 Player / 2 Players (local multiplayer) | Out Now | 500 Nintendo Points
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1st June 2010; By KnucklesSonic8
Just like with other games in the series, the idea of the game is to match 3 or more idential-coloured gems vertically or horizontally. The on-screen cursor you use will isolate 4 gems on the playing field and rotate the cluster in a clockwise direction. You can use the D-Pad to move the rotator and press the A Button to confirm, or you can use two different kinds of stylus controls. A single-touch and double-touch system, the latter of the two allows you to drag your cursor before tapping in the center. Whichever way you play, you'll likely find the controls to work well with little-to-no problems.
As you make matches successfully, the meter on the left side of the screen will fill up with energy. Once it becomes full, the board will get cleared and you'll be able to move onto the next level. Making links consisting of more than 3 gems will introduce special power-ups. A match-up of 4 gems will form a Flame Gem which, when matched with another set of gems, will destroy other gems within a short range. 5 gems coming together will create a Lightning Gem which can send surges of energy through both axis points depending on where it was activated. And finally, Supernova Gems are made when a link of 6 gems is made, and this will create a big explosion that will remove a significant chunk of nearby gems off the playing field. I really enjoyed seeing these special effects play out over the course of a game, especially because they make the game that much more fun to play.
Making successive matches will go towards the multiplier located on the top screen of your DSi. Using a turn without activating a match will empty the current multiplier back to the beginning, and doing it once again will bring it down an entire level. Keeping your multiplier going is key if you hope to not only succeed in the game, but also see some of the finer moments in the game. For example, maxing out the 10x multiplier will result in the creation of Fruit Gems which can not only destroy all gems of the same colour, but they can also initiate a special bonus event that's fun to experience.
Additional items will randomly pop out onto the grid as you reach new levels to keep things varied. For one, you'll encounter dark pieces of coal which can't be eliminated using normal links; only through the use of special gems can you destroy these solid rocks. Locked Gems can't be rotated directly by the cursor, instead you'll need to use surrounding gems or explosions to eliminate them. Bomb Gems are time-sensitive and they reduce in number for every turn that passes by. Failing to match them up to another set of gems with the same colour before the timer hits 0 will cause a special event will take place. An alarm will sound a roulette will appear on-screen that you must stop at the right time in order to keep playing. Each time you come to this spinner, two skulls will appear, thereby reducing your chances of success. If you happen to land on a skull icon, your game will be over.
Thanks to the sense of variety in the different available gems available, Bejeweled Twist is something that will likely hold your attention for some time. Naturally, luck plays a factor in aiming for an impressive score, but players do have some level of control over maximizing scoring potential. What's lacking in this game is the frantic nature of prior games in the series. Whether this is something you'll appreciate, though, is another question. Because there's no time limit and you're not forced to make a successful match each turn, players are under no obligation to rush and, in so doing, this allows room for advanced planning. Some may long for something more structured and challenging but rest-assured that the game is still quite addicting.
What certainly helps in making this release so appealing are the visuals themselves. Although there's not a lot of variety in the audio used for this game, the look of the game is pretty appealing. In particular, making use of the special gems results in flashy effects transpiring on your touch screen. The interface is pretty cool as well and the outer space theme works well.
As a $5 release, it's definitely got a good sense of value. Ultimately, though, this is a stripped-down version of the retail release of this game. Other than the classic single-player option, you have a multiplayer component, as well as a high-score table. Comparing this with the full version will get you to see just how light this DSiWare release is. Although Download Play would have been great, I like the fact that multiplayer can be played with owners of either version of Bejeweled Twist. You can hold up to 3 different profiles allowing multiple people in the same household to experience the game. Playing on your own, you can save your game at any time and come back to it later, a feature that's very much appreciated. Because a single session can last upwards of 30 minutes, having the ability to come back when you have more time is great for those looking for a fun puzzler you can play on the go.
Overall, it's a fun game and I admire PopCap for trying some new mechanics for something less familiar. However, a simple change to the structure could have made the game more challenging and exciting to play. Mind you, if you like to see strategy in a puzzle game, there's some to be had here amidst the slight simplicity, albeit it's nothing too substantial. Even if you enjoy the game a lot and are motivated to purchase the retail release, this is still good to have for multiplayer capabilities. If you want something that's portable and don't mind the fact that the game is lacking in content, the game can hold you over for a while. But even despite the fact that Bejeweled Twist can be a tad addicting, don't be surprised if you move onto something else later on.
22/30 - Good
Gameplay 8/10 - Not what most may be used to but it's still well-made, increased sense of strategy but less frantic, retains simplicity with added depth
Presentation 7/10 - Sparkly visuals with nice special effects, different gems and power-ups offer great variety, nice setup
Enjoyment 4/5 - Quick thinking isn't needed as much as other games, still quite addicting, can plan out a course of action, multipliers offer great incentive
Extra Content 3/5 - Only Classic Mode for solo play, offers portability for only $5, high scores, multiplayer to play with owners of this or the retail version
Equivalent to a score of 73% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)