Bejeweled 2

Xbox Live Arcade

Review by Matt Paprocki

Pop Cap Games


Graphics: 7

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


Shiny objects.

2-D grid.

Pretty colors.

One button.

We humans are an easily entertained bunch. Look no further than the simplicity of PopCap's Bejeweled 2, a stunningly simple gem matching affair that sucks hours of your life away the minute you select it from the Live Arcade menu. While playable free elsewhere, this $10 Xbox 360 port does a fine job of making itself worthwhile, with added modes and lots of pretty colors all in HD.

bejeweled21360.jpg (149395 bytes)Players are presented with a grid filled with shiny jewels. By swapping two of them, the idea is to line up three, four, or five of the same color in a horizontal or vertical row. It’s as simple as video games can be, a perfect entry title for the newcomer or light casual type.

Bonus gems can be earned by matching up four or five in a row. By lining up four, you’ll receive an explosive gem, which can take out all surrounding objects regardless of color. Line up five, which is a rough task, earns the player a gem that can clear all of a single color from the field. Some exclusive 360 graphical effects are a nice touch and the detailed backdrops add to the relaxing feel of this calm, oddly soothing title.

Four modes are standard fare (more can be unlocked later), with the exception of endurance. This is a mode you cannot lose and will never end. You simply continue on busting jewels until you can’t take anymore, or until you reach level 280 and earn one of the many hideously difficult achievements.

Puzzle mode limits the amount of moves you can make with pre-set jewels, and you’re forced to clear the screen. Timed ensures only a specific amount of your life will go missing as you try for the highest score. Classic is the mode that made the game a success, requiring moves every so often or run the risk of a ticker reaching the bottom for a game over.

Bejeweled 2’s competition is fierce, especially with another color matching title free on the 360 HDD. Both Hexic and Bejeweled 2 can be addictive, though Hexic provides a tougher challenge in the end. Bejeweled also hits a snag in its design, punishing the player unfairly with a game over if the game board doesn’t allow any possible moves. There’s nothing that can be done to prevent this as the pieces that fall are random, and it’s hard to think of a more frustrating situation than being pushed off a leaderboard due to an unavoidable lapse in the design.

Chances are, you’re well aware if Bejeweled 2 is worth the asking price before you even see it listed on the Live Marketplace. You’ve either played it to death previously and couldn’t stand another game or you spent countless hours on the PC playing a demo and need a bigger fix. There’s little unexpected here, and it’s a classic puzzle game.


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Last updated: Monday, April 16, 2007 10:35 PM