[Review] Bejeweled Blitz Exits Beta; Gets a Makeover

This article was originally published for Site of the Gaming Dead, a now-defunct video game blog, on October 8, 2009. I have attempted to recreate the article here, complete with images (when possible).

PopCap Games debuted the brand new version of Bejeweled Blitz Tuesday, the popular one-minute version of their puzzle game involving matching gems in lines. The game, finally out of its beta status, more closely resembles the full Bejeweled 2 game with its fantasy-world settings and echoing sound effects. The makeover also introduces some new game elements, including two new gem types, making for more exciting gameplay.

The new version of Bejeweled Blitz keeps all the glitz and shine of the beta and the full version of the game, but makes it easier to score high even if your eye-mouse coordination isn’t as blazing fast as you’d like.

The goal of the game remains the same: match three or more gems of the same color and shape to destroy them. The faster you go and the more gems you match, the higher your score. But gems created from four of the same color, formerly called Power Gems, have been renamed Flame Gems, and take out matching gems in their radius while also activating other Flame Gems for a massive explosion.

If you match five gems in an “L” or a “T” shape, you’ll create the brand-new Star Gem, which wipes one whole column and row from the board. You can still create Hypercubes, which wipe out all gems of a particular color, but they look a little different from their nebulous glowing counterparts of the Beta game.

Multiplier Gems still remain, but a brand new feature is the “Last Hurrah,” which allows you to get a few thousand more points in within the very last second of the game. Instead of your near-matches and Multiplier Games going to waste, you’ll actually get points for them, which varies depending on your current Speed Multiplier.

If you keep matching gems at a rapid-fire pace, you’ll start to fill up your speed bonus meter, and your speed bonus text (in the upper left) will change from white to orange. Once that meter’s full, you’ll in the new “Blazing Speed” mode. From then on, each match will grant you the same effect as detonating a Flame Gem until Blazing Speed mode ends.

Bejeweled Blitz exits its beta status with a bang, but it’s still got some issues: sometimes scores don’t get recorded on the Leaderboard, or the game seems to pause while you’re mid-move. You need to have Flash 10 and a pretty speedy browser to get the most out of Bejeweled Blitz, but if you’ve got all that, the game should be a blast. Just try not to get addicted.

Overall, that makes the game a:

Survivor: 4/5