Thursday, October 31, 2013

Jewels (Game Review)

This game fooled me a little and then confused me but finally is one I'll keep as a good way to spend a few minutes. That's what phone games are, a happy way to spend a few minutes. Or not. Maybe longer games have a place and if you know of any longer games that work on Firefox OS, let me know. For example, I'm also playing through the Legend of Zelda on a Nintendo 3DS and having a blast doing one or two screens at a time.

But back to Jewels (by Tweensoft). Note that Tweensoft also makes an HTML5 game called Jeweled, which looks more like a bubble shooter games. Interesting marketing!

I like bubble shooters, but this is more of a genuine puzzle. You must rotate groups of balls and if you get four to match color, they vanish. An unusual variation on match three.

So here's the opening screen:

Note that you can see high scores and get more games. Tweensoft has a lot of them!

Here's the instructions. I'm always glad to have those, but (later) I'll add a few tips.

Sort of simple, but this screen will make it more clear:

You have 16 jewels of different colors. At either lower corner you have a circular arrow that determines which way the jewels will rotate. The four that are enclosed (green, green, red, blue) will rotate counter-clockwise if you tap inside the circle.

Select different sets of four and rotate them until you get four jewels in a square -- but the square can be larger than 2x2. When you have four matching at the corners, those corners disappear and new jewels fall down from the top to fill any holes.

I first got confused because I thought this was a simple match three game like Bejeweled, but it wasn't. Maybe a grandchild of Bejeweled. I would have preferred a more descriptive title like Four Corners or, well, that's a great name for this game.

But then when I tried to play it, I couldn't figure out how you select. Sometimes clicking one a jewel would select the connected four so that the jewel was in the lower corner, and other times in the upper corner. Then I finally realized (here's the tip) that you tap in between the four jewels you want to rotate. Perfect! Now you can tap fast and furious!

My only real grip, now that I know how to select and play, is that I would have preferred that the game be in portrait, not landscape. I like to hold my phone in portrait and have a good grip on my ZTE Open while I'm tiptoeing through the tulips. But maybe that's just a preference.

Oops, I forgot one thing that makes this a game of skill. On the right side of the screen is your life meter. Every time you get a 4-way match, your life meter goes up. Every time your rotations don't cause a match, the life meter goes down. When it gets to the bottom, the game is over. You then see the final screen and have the option to enter a high score.

A nice game. Simple, but colorful and fun. I don't like that I had to puzzle over where exactly I had to tap, so the game loses one point. I'd almost deduct only 1/2 a point because the rest was perfect.

Cost: Free
Genre: Puzzle
Score: 4 (out of 5)
Tested on: ZTE Open (Firefox OS)
Get it at: Firefox Marketplace