Bejeweled for iPhone is a superlative iOS iteration of the classic PopCap (recently acquired by EA) game. Fans, who have come to expect somewhat uninspired ports of the iconic games in their catalog, are in for a big surprise. The new Bejeweled, which marks the official abandonment of Bejeweled 2 + Blitz, is very reminiscent of Bejewled 3, but with iOS-only elements and eye-popping retina-rich graphics. This one is a must-have for anyone who enjoys casual gaming.
For those who have been pulling a Rip Van Winkle, Bejeweled at its most basic is a match-three gem-swapping game. In simpler terms, players are tasked with switching colored jewels with adjacent ones in the hope of creating groupings of three or more like-colored baubles. Bigger chains yield powerups, and the game ends when there are no matches left.
In this new iPhone-only version, players are treated to beautiful backgrounds, perfect touch controls and four modes.
For newcomers and purists there is Classic, and for those who like the quick-shot Blitz variation, the app connects to its free Blitz iOS sibling, also new, with full Facebook integration.
There is a Zen mode that is best experienced with headphones to enjoy the selection of ambient soundtracks. The mantras might yield more laughs than life changes, but it’s a mellow way to get your match groove on.
The mode with a twist is Diamond Mine. Treasures are buried at the bottom of the board, and the goal is to match gems at the base in order to dig downward. Reach the floor and treasures — and time bonuses — are unearthed.
The game is priced at $0.99, making it the best deal in the franchise to date. I’m dreaming of an iPad version, but Bejewled in a well-polished diamond that belongs next to Plants vs. Zombies on any gamer’s iPhone.