The principle behind the game is simple. You’re placed in control of a screen of gemstones and, by swapping gems horizontally and vertically, you need to get them into a group of three or more. When you do, they disappear and more gems drop into play.
On its own, that would be rather boring. However as you progress rewards are given for combinations of four or more gems, for matching multiple groups of colours at once, as well as for grouping your gems with speed. The action element of the game comes when there’s a time limit and the panic starts to build when you can’t find the next grouping.
In terms of sound, the effects Bejeweled has are more than adequate. The music, though cheesey, suits the game very well. The in-game effects for the end of level, complete group, and so on give a sense of completion that blends in well with the background music. You do, of course, have the option of playing your own music although this may distract from the game itself.
The iPod version retains the gameplay, sound and graphics that made the original version so addictive. Where it suffers is in its control mechanism – the way in which the click wheel has been configured does leave you feeling like certain control elements are back to front. It takes time to get used to the controls, and in a game where action is everything that’s time that you cannot afford.
In terms of high-speed action, Bejeweled is perhaps best suited to the touch screen of a PDA or a computer mouse. That said, once you grow familiar with the control mechanism you’ll quickly work your way around and enjoy the immediate appeal of the game. It’s not the best version of Bejeweled to date, but it’s not bad.