Bejeweled Blitz LIVE #XBLA VVGIndieVerse Review
VVG IndieVerse Reviews
“Bejeweled Blitz LIVE”
By: Mr. Deeke
Bejeweled Blitz LIVE is a modernistic and state of the art reboot of the Bejeweled game series. With incredible, tech-inspired visuals and up-beat high-tempo music, this Xbox Live Arcade game is a must-have for fans of the Bejeweled games and puzzler enthusiasts everywhere.
This game actually started off as a Facebook application. Since it gained massive notoriety and popularity, PopCap Games ported it to a downloadable game available for multiple platforms such as iPhone (as part of the Bejeweled 2 app), Windows, Mac OS X and Xbox 360*. As with the Bejeweled series, Bejeweled Blitz is based on the Shariki game mechanic.*
Bejeweled Blitz LIVE 800 MSP
This exciting action-packed puzzler is one of the most fun and competitive XBLA games of its genre. Bejeweled Blitz is a puzzler that puts emphasis on critical thinking, reaction skills, and strategy–it is definitely not a game you can just pick up and be a pro at.
With two game modes (Twist and Classic) players can enjoy challenging and gratifying gameplay that is filled with exhilarating, pulse-racing action. Every precious second counts in this extremely addicting Xbox Live Arcade Game.
- Developer – Torpex Games
- Publisher – PopCap Games
- Genre – Action & Adventure
- XBL Marketplace URL – Bejeweled Blitz LIVE
- Release Date – 2/23/2011
- Try or Buy? – Try Before You Buy
- Price – 800 MSP
- Rating – 4/5
“…The most competitive 60 seconds on XBLA! Take on friends in the brilliant gem-matching action of Bejeweled Blitz LIVE! Choose your favorite playing style – Classic or Twist – and rocket up the leaderboards!…”
–Xbox Live Marketplace Description
I. Game Mechanics
Bejeweled Blitz LIVE functions the same way the classic Bejeweled games do in terms of basic mechanics and gameplay: players must match three gems of the same color and type in either a row or a column in order to earn points. Sounds easy, right? When the screen is full of dozens of gems, it gets quite difficult and players must stay alert to make good impromptu decisions.
This new title also adds another game mode for players to enjoy called “Twist”. Gamers can choose which type they’d like to play, either Twist or Classic, and each one provides a unique experience.
Twist, the new gametype, functions similar to the original Classic mode with one key difference: instead of only moving one gem at a time, Twist mode allows you to move four gems at once by revolving them in a circle. This may sound tricky at first, however it is actually easier than the classic mode because it allows gamers to focus on more than one gem at a time. This game mode is also more rewarding to beginner players as it’s not as stressful and is less challenging in terms of strategic thinking and focus.
The Classic game mode is what veteran fans of the Bejeweled series will be most comfortable with. This mode provides gamers with the standard experience and is more challenging than Twist mode, which can also be more rewarding in the sense of achievement for the player–a high score in Classic mode on the leaderboards affords bragging rights.
Much like all games of the Bejeweled series, Blitz features a very helpful “Hint” bar that can be used by pressing RB. This function reveals a match to the player, allowing players to avoid frustration by giving them aid. This bar takes some time to refill, though, so it can’t be used frequently which adds more challenge to the game.
II. Unique Features
Bejeweled Blitz LIVE offers enhanced graphics, more fluid gameplay and is an overall improvement of the previous Bejeweled titles. As the name implies, Bejeweled Blitz LIVE offers several online game modes including one-on-one matches both locally and on Xbox Live, as well as party play which allows up to sixteen players can play at once. This may sound overwhelming, but the interface for online party play is interactive and easy to keep up with.
The visuals and graphics for this high-tension XBLA are unprecedented when compared to the previous Bejeweled titles. Gamers have come to expect the polished quality that is associated with PopCap Games, but Bejeweled Blitz LIVE redefines these expectations and shows gamers worldwide a new evolution in the Bejeweled series. PopCap Games mixes a high-tech theme with an advanced, user-friendly interface that is very appealing and fully animated.
The best thing about the Bejeweled games is that time is seemingly irrelevant–you can play a few games and since it demands total attention and focus, gamers will feel like hours have gone by when only ten minutes has passed. This kind of time distortion allows gamers to enjoy many playthroughs without having to sacrifice hours of time that some puzzlers require.
Unlike the previous games in the series, Bejeweled Blitz allows the player to swap gems while gems from previous matches are still falling.* There are two modes of play in this mind-racing XBLA–Classic Mode and Twist Mode:
As far as the general dynamics go, Bejeweled Blitz’s Classic Mode is much like the other games in the series–players must match three gems either in rows or columns to earn points and make gems vanish. When players match more than three gems in a row a special game is formed; either a Lightning Gem, a Fire Gem, or a Hypercube.
Four gem matches produce an explosive gem (Fire Gem) that ignites and blows up a chunk of pieces in a certain radius. Five gems matched in a row can yield a Hypercube (which eliminates all of the same-color gems that are matched with it) or a Lightning Gem (this gem fires a bolt in all directions that destroys same-color gems for a few rows).
When players match gems fast enough (hence the “blitz”) a combo is formed that adds bonus points, yet this string can be broken by one single fail. Matching special gems in groups of four or five creates a multiplier gem which adds a significant bonus point value depending on the number of gems matched.
Additionally at the end of each round all un-matched special gems are counted for bonus points (lightning gems explode to destroy like-colored gems), allowing players to still earn points for special gems that were created but not used.
This new mode adds a whole separate game within the game itself–it’s more than just another play variant. This section also allows gamers to experience a different and varied form of Bejeweled that is somewhat less challenging and stressful.
Twist basically operates like Classic in the sense of matching three gems at a time, however instead of switching adjacent cubes, players must rotate them to find matches. Also, Twist mode in Bejeweled Blitz allows players to rotate in both directions instead of being limited to one, making it easier to find matches.
This mode also has special gems–Lightning Gems, Fire Gems, and Supernova Gems. Supernova Gems launch three rows of destruction in all directions, obliterating any gems of the same color–this special gem is only created through a combo of 6 or more matches, yet can yield a high amount of points.
Both gametypes (Twist or Classic) can be played competitively locally and on Xbox Live through 1vs1 or insane 16 Player party play, the latter of which is hectic and quite crazy since you’re in a race with not one, or two, but sixteen different players. There is also a rare “Friendscore” function that combines a player’s score with all of their Xbox Live friends, giving the sense of a group achievement especially if the scores are high.
It’s Fun! Bejeweled Blitz LIVE offers what Bejeweled fans and long-time puzzler veterans have come to expect from this genre of games–a fun, fast-paced experience that’s infinitely replayable and different each time. Whether you’re a fan of Hexic or the old-school puzzler Tetris, this action-packed XBLA is sure to please all gamers looking for a challenging and quick-paced puzzler.
Live Multiplayer. This game is more hectic than the rest of the games in the series, but it offers more unique features and gametypes, as well as an exclusive LIVE party play function that allows up to sixteen players to battle head-to-head for high-score leaderboard glory. Combine your high scores with your friends’ in the Friendscore feature or play competitively 1-on-1 against your Xbox Live companions in this high-tension puzzler.
Graphics. As an evolution in the Bejeweled series in terms of function and graphics, this high-tension XBLA has amazing graphics with a high-tech theme. It utilizes vibrant colors, appealing animations, and interactive menus that are rare to find in a XBLA puzzler. The level of detail in the gems and the main game board alone is astounding, not to mention the enhanced graphics during lightning gem strikes and explosions that are as impressive as they are appealing.
The Hint Meter. This incredibly useful little meter has been quite a valuable asset since it reveals a match to the player when they’re stumped. The bar must be completely full to be able to use it and it has a moderate refill rate so it can’t be used too often. Sometimes these kinds of puzzle games tend to make gamers overlook even the most obvious of matches, so this tool can point them out as well as potentially earn big points by creating special gems.
It’s Challenging. Many gamers who are new to the Bejeweled series may find this game to be difficult, and may be disappointed by the level of focus and attention that is involved. This game is recommended for veterans of puzzlers or of the Bejeweled series, and can be quite overwhelming to casual players with it’s fast-paced, high-tension action.
Nearly Impossible Achievements. If you’re an achievement hunter, and are committed to earning every achievement in every title you buy, you’ll be quite busy with this XBLA. It’s achievements are truly achievements, and they make the player work hard for that Gamerscore.
Overall, Bejeweled Blitz LIVE is a fantastic addition to any puzzler fan’s game library. With expansive content such as two unique game modes, online competitive play with up to 16 players, and unique gameplay at a rapid pace, this game is a perfect fit for gamers who love a good challenging puzzler.
Whether you’re a gamer who enjoys the frenetic action of competitive online play or a casual gamer who enjoys a difficult challenge in Classic Mode, Bejeweled Blitz LIVE is a great title to enjoy time and time again.
For more information on Bejeweled Blitz LIVE and the studio that published it visit PopCap Games’ Website.
*Source: Bejeweled Blitz Wikipedia Article