Sometimes simple is best, but simple with some sparkly jewels is always better. Combining its well-known formula of matching three or more identical gems with several new modes to mix it up, PopCap's Bejeweled 3 promises fans something new with a now common style of puzzle gaming.
Once again you must match like-coloured jewels to progress through the game, and if you match four or five jewels then you get little bonuses to help you on your way.
The visuals are super crisp and bright, eliciting many happy feelings for puzzle-goers out there, and the music choices are simple and great. Even the use of the stylus is a nice addition compared to the other console versions, making your moves as quick and precise as you can muster. I personally found it made playing the game that much more fun; a simple swish-and-flick and your move is complete!
There are several modes to choose from in this rendition, some which are available right away, and others that you must unlock as you play. Luckily you unlock the rest while you explore the game options anyway, giving you that feeling of achievement without causing you to sink days of your life to reap the rewards.
The standard 'endless' mode is back, allowing players to play without stopping so long as there's a match somewhere on the grid. You could easily lose hours playing this mode, but you won't regret a moment of it. Zen is basically the same, but with music that will relax you to the point you'll be itching for a nap.
In addition to these, PopCap has mixed it up with their alternative 'versions' of the match-three-to-five jewels concept, and they've done it well.
One really fun twist on the game is the 'poker' mode, where you must match certain gems to achieve a 'three of a kind,' 'four of a kind,' 'full house,' and other such options. As you play, certain combinations will become literal death traps, where if you get that particular 'set' you will automatically fail. As a result, you tend to plan ahead as you go to ensure you won't fail.
Butterflies really adds a bit of tactical thinking into the game. Different coloured butterflies appear at the bottom of the grid, and you must try to match them with identically-coloured jewels to set them free. If you don't, a spider at the top hungrily waits for you to make a mistake. As the butterflies get closer to the spider, even without a timer you'll feel the worry and need to switch the right gems to get them out of harm's way.
Another option is to play with bombs that time down and you only have so long to eliminate them. Or, you can choose to 'mine' gold by matching gems near the 'soil' to 'dig.' Maybe you'd like to race against rising ice pillars where the only way to prevent yourself from 'freezing up' is to match jewels in particular rows on the grid before it's too late. There's even a mode where you must eliminate equal amounts of red and blue gems, though every time you do so you literally tip the scale for that colour and must balance it again or else it's game over.
As I'm sure you now realize, there's plenty of options to keep yourself occupied, and happily so. Even the 'quest' feature leads you on a 'journey' to unlock jewels and levels by playing through several of the different approaches to the game. You'll find that no matter what you're in the mood for, this game generally has it.
The only thing it lacks is any form of online features like multiplayer, so there's no way to share or compare your scores with others without having someone use the same DS card as you.
Overall, this is a puzzle game worth keeping around as a 'staple' in your collection. Whether you want to play against the clock, dig for treasure, or just play for eternity, each game style offers a different element to the otherwise standard game play with enough variety to ensure you never really get bored with it. Bejeweled 3 is available for the DS, PS3, PSN, Xbox 360 and XBL.