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Game Profile
PopCap Games
PopCap Games
GENRE: Puzzle
December 20, 2008

Bejeweled 3

Bejeweled 2

Bejeweled 2

 Written by John Scalzo  on May 06, 2010

Review: Diamonds are a gamer's best friend...

Forget FarmVille, MyTown or Mafia Wars, Bejeweled Blitz rules the Facebook gaming scene. It was true enough when we selected our favorite games of 2009 and its true enough today. Now, PopCap has created a downloadable, stand-alone edition of their popular sixty-second match-3 puzzle game. How does it stack up against the free Facebook version? Read on and find out.

The downloadable and Facebook versions feature identical gameplay. Players are asked to line up as many colored gems in rows or columns of three as they can in one minute. Specialized gems, such as point multipliers, flaming gems, star gems and hypercubes, make things interesting (with loads of points) after players match four or five gems in a single move.

So if the games are identical, what does the downloadable version of Bejeweled Blitz have that the Facebook version doesn't? Honestly, the answer is... not much.

The downloadable version offers improved graphics, in several high definition resolutions, which are much prettier than the graphics found in the game's Flash origins. Beyond the flashier style found in the downloadable version, the games feel very similar. Both versions include the simple, yet maddening, puzzle matching that is typical of the Bejeweled series. And it is nice to have more room to maneuver in the higher resolution of the downloadable version. The Facebook version can feel kind of cramped at times.

The biggest difference between the Facebook version and the downloadable version is that the latter comes with 1,000,000 coins, which players can spend on Boosts. Boosts are Bejeweled's name for cheats that change the board in some way, such as adding more time to the clock or adding a bonus gem to the board at the beginning of a game, to help players earn bigger points. And with a million coins at their disposal, players can spend freely and cheat to their heart's desire without have to earn the normally hard-to-come-by coins.

Yes, it seems that the real reason for the game's existence is to separate players from their $20 to earn easy access to more coins than they'll know what to do with. And on that front, the game scores. Playing without the Boosts in Bejeweled Blitz just feels unnatural now and having unlimited access to them is a nice bonus.

Another nice bonus is that the downloadable version of the game will link to your Facebook account, so players will still be able to brag to their friends about their latest high score and enter PopCap's weekly contests.

Bottom Line
At $20, the downloadable version is ridiculously pricey when the exact same game can be had for free on Facebook. So the question becomes, just how much is 1,000,000 coins worth to you? If the price seems fair, the downloadable version of Blitz is a steal and easily the best update to the game yet. If $20 seems too expensive for a slightly improved version of a free game, that's probably because it is.

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