Aug 8, 2012

[Games] Jewels Star and Jewels Legend (Android)

Normal gameplay mode
Normal gameplay mode (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Starting from the early matching games like Tetris and Columns, we've count constant amusement from similar games that have followed this line of puzzle-related thinking. And these days the biggest name in spatial reasoning games will probably be something like Bejeweled.

But for some reason games like Bejeweled 2 are not compatible with my Android-powered ASUS Trasnformer TF101 - more likely because of my location and not necessarily the device itself. And so I decided to go looking for alternatives to this matching game and ended up with two interesting options created by a company called  iTreeGamer. And for free games, they're not that bad.

This review will address both games and assign a single score for both, given they generally follow the same concept and similar limitations.

First up is Jewels Star, which is straight-up Bejeweled clone. You have your gems on a straight grid and you need to make matches consisting of 3-5 gems at a time. Following the pattern of other matching games, you also need to create your matches across all possible squares of the grid (sometimes multiple times) in order to clear the grid. Once you've cleared all squares, the jewel star will appear and it just becomes a matter of matching gems until the jewel reaches the lowest square in its column.

The game provides some variety in changing the configuration of the playing field, thus creating some narrow passages or restricting options through frozen squares and locked squares. And of course making matches of 4 or 5 gems trigger the creation of power-ups that will help you along.

The other game is Jewels Legend, which till follows generally Bejeweled-style play but this time using hexagonal gem slots instead of square ones. Thus you need to create your matches in diagonal fashion, similar to games like Hexic. It features similar power-ups like in Jewels Star such as the exploring gems, the sphere that eliminates all gem of a particular type and those gems that clear out entire rows, although it's a tad trickier to use given the grid style.

Both games offer a decent enough game mix with two "worlds" consisting of 99 stages each. You can earn stars for each level based on how well you score as you clear the stage and these stars are needed to unlock the second world for each game.

My challenge with the game is how they handle the challenge of creating increasingly difficult levels. Their strategy was to create more and more ridiculous grid patterns that make it harder and harder to make matches to the point that many times you wait for the game to randomly generate gems and hope they hit the target area. You know the stage is not well designed when you get the annoying "NO MORE MOVE" (sic) message 3-5 times at the very start of the stage before you make any moves. It become lless about your skill as a player and more about hoping for the right mix of gems.

Some would argue that I shouldn't complain too much - you get what you pay for with these free, ad-supported games. But still, I think they deserve to know that they could do better. But despite the challenges, the game does provide for quick casual gaming fun for Android users who don't want to spend (or don't have the option to purchase) games like Bejeweled and such. Both Jewels Star and Jewels Legend rate a decent 3.5 special gems out of a possible 5.
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  1. Hello Rocky,

    there is a game "Corsair's Jewels", which is similar to these two, but it never says "NO MORE MOVES". It just Reshuffles the jewels if needed and you can play on...

    Maybe you could review that game too.

  2. Jim,

    Even in jewel star, reshuffle happens automatically in Arcade mode.