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Jewel Master: Cradle of Persia - DS Review

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Jewel Master: Cradle of Persia

DS | Rising Star Games / Cerasus Media | 1 Player | Out Now
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31st August 2012; By KnucklesSonic8

Today you've decided to try out a recipe for a new dessert. Serving one of these to your guest, you watch in satisfaction as their face lights up. "You're a natural," they remark -- a natural who wisely doesn't let on that the recipe isn't in fact an original creation, but was torn out from last week's newspaper. But rather than following this up with commendation on your all-knowingness for balanced portions, comparisons are instead made to baked goods sold at a bustling coffee shop. While you're not in the least bit offended to be put in the same realm as a successful business, you'd still like to feel good for what little you did to make the recipe your own. Alas, much to your disappointment, that "special touch" goes unnoticed. To now say that Jewel Master: Cradle of Persia is like that wholesome treat -- delicious and a joy to partake of -- would be a stretch. But one thing the two have in common is that they are both near-identical to something already existing and familiar. The fact is, Cradle of Persia is a totally cookie-cutter release, and depending on your experience level, the lack of change will either bother you quite a bit or not at all.

    A continuation of other titles in this series, Cradle of Persia has players engaging in gameplay consisting of match-three principles, with the goal of accumulating sufficient resources for the building of key landmarks in an outer environment. Along the way, items will be unlocked to open up the field when your options for making the right kind of matches leave you at luck's mercy. In the midst of all this gathering of materials and supplies, players are working towards restoring a now-dormant kingdom to its former glory; a somewhat tried-and-true system that has been successful enough to warrant yet another rehash of the same thing. At least, that's how the development team sees it. Especially when the original source isn't all that compelling to begin with, I'm not one for series that continuously perpetuate sameness with each release. Sticking to the oft-referenced reasoning of not fixing what isn't broken, you can understand how Cradle of Persia doesn't give people like me much room to warm up to it.

    Despite what first glances suggested, I still went into this with a measure of hope that the developers would try something (anything!) different, if only because there's a greater exotic theme that could be leveraged. As a builder (humor me) with much work ahead, I should certainly hope that you, the player, feel up to the task and have belief that you'll complete it successfully. But reality catches up long before you reach that eventual destination, causing you to question whether or not the project is all that sustainable in the long run. And it's not that the overall task is inherently poor; just that strictly from the standpoint of this particular iteration, the lack of effort towards justifying the game's existence -- at least for anyone outside the realm of uninitiated users -- really damages the title's reach.

Just to put things in perspective for the old-fashioned puzzle-solvers out there: This isn't like starting a new 1000-piece puzzle where you would have entirely different patterns and a new picture to admire by the end of it all. The only thing preventing this from being the spitting image of the other games it's based on is the change of skin -- new pieces and props along with a changed setting. I will say, though, that compared to prior releases, Cradle of Persia is a tad cleaner in its presentation. Though the animations of the builders constructing the different monuments don't look too good, almost everything else -- music included -- is satisfactory, I'd say. But I still fail to why you should feel impelled to build up a civilization the likes of which boil down to the same processes you've involved yourself in previously.

    It's a shame the developers didn't effectively cater to the potential of the theme they were working with in this particular entry. And because nothing has been done on a gameplay level in the way of even subtle improvement, the choice of whether or not to invest is an extremely easy one to make. Simply put, Cradle of Persia has no merit as a prospective purchase for those with prior exposure to the series while at the same time being just decent enough for the unacquainted.

17/30 - Okay/Average

Gameplay 6/10 - Match-three principles catering to the Jewel Master model, same old story with not even subtle improvements being made
Presentation 6/10 - Meets expectations in most areas, animations could be better, revised skin makes use of new set pieces and is a bit cleaner
Enjoyment 3/5 - Anyone with no prior exposure to the series will still manage to find some fun from playing, others will be bothered by the lack of change
Extra Content 2/5 - Numerous layouts, additional modes, having continued commitment to the overall task still a problem as before

Equivalent to a score of 57% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by KnucklesSonic8

Jewel Master: Cradle of Persia
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