Hands-on with Bejeweled 2 for the PlayStation Network

I was given the wonderful opportunity to try out Bejeweled 2 , which has been ported to the PS3 and has been available on the PlayStation Network for just a couple of weeks now, joining the Xbox 360 version on the Xbox Live Arcade.  What am I doing looking at a relatively small PlayStation Network title?  Well, if you know where to look on the PlayStation Store, you can find a few gems.  Ahem.

The real reason I couldn’t pass on trying this game is that I am a total Bejeweled addict.  I’ve played the flash version on my PC, I’ve got it on my iPod Nano, my iPod touch, and now, the PS3.  This actually gives me a unique perspective from which to look at some finer details in the game.

Firing up Bejeweled for the first time, I can’t help but be dazzled by the game’s crisp and vibrant HD look.  Whilst not necessarily as jaw-dropping as Super Stardust HD by comparison, it is good seeing the game looking its best- out of any other versions.  I’m not quite sure why the game wasn’t named Bejeweled 2 HD!

Controls

To be honest, I’d always wondered how the developers would approach the controls, and I’m pleasantly surprised to see that they’ve got the balance about right.  I’ll just stick with the essential controls: you move the selector around by using the D-pad, and to switch a gem you hold down the X button, and flick the D-pad in whatever direction you would like to make the switch.  Out of interest, I tried using the left analogue stick instead for direction and I find that it works a treat.  Possibly even better than using the D-pad.

But how does this version on the PS3 compare to other versions with regards to the control scheme?  You’d be surprised to know that I don’t feel using a mouse on a PC is the best way to play Bejeweled, and neither is using the clickwheel of an iPod.  By far the best way is using touch on an iPhone or an iPod touch as it’s just so fast, fluid and intuitive.  Given that with the PS3, you’re using a TV to view the game and not a touch screen, the control scheme utilised is possibly the next best scheme.

Gameplay

I don’t feel that I need to explain the gameplay in great detail here.  Suffice to say that Wikipedia covers the basic gist of it.  You’re looking at classic Bejeweled action: aiming to match the same coloured gems in a row of 3 or more to gain points.  I’ll warn you right now that it is totally addictive- in a good way!  There’s always the urge to try and get a new high score.  One area that I would critique though is when all the gems are in place, and there’s literally no more moves left to make, that ends the game.  It seems a bit unfair and arbitrary, as this can happen at more or less any point in game which is frustrating if you’re going after that elusive high score.

Re-playability wise, there are four secret modes to unlock, and of course, with this version of Bejeweled being on the PSN, there’s Trophies to collect!  I know that for me, Trophies are going to be a big incentive to try every aspect of the game: going for those high scores in each mode and attempting the challenges to unlock all the Trophies.  Online leader board integration for the PlayStation Network, and the ability to quickly look at yours and other peoples PSN profile cards is a nice touch.

Pricing

Disclaimer: I was given a voucher code for Bejeweled 2 for the purpose of being able to review the game

Normally, I wouldn’t even consider devoting any time to looking at the price of a game.  As a rule, your big full-blown games at retail outlets are at standard price points, but games on the PlayStation Network have variable pricing and you can carefully consider whether that game you’re looking to buy is really worth it at that price.  Bejeweled 2 costs £6.29 in the PlayStation Store, which for a puzzle game such as this seems to be a bit steep.  A price somewhere in the region of £3.99 would perhaps be more appropriate as there are games out there such as PixelJunk Eden and Super Stardust HD which offer more for less.

Overall

Bejeweled 2 is one of those games that you’re either going to love, or you’re just never going to like.  Fortunately there’s a trial version on the PlayStation Store so you can give the game a spin before you consider buying it.  I’d say that the game warrants far more playing time on my part to fully unlock every last facet of the game.  I’ll update this article at a later date if I’ve got anything else to add.

Rating

Game: 3.9 out of 5 STARS (fun)

Pricing: 2 out of 5 STARS (pricey)

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