Bejeweled has been the king of the ubiquitous gem-smashing genre ever since its inception almost a decade ago, but the franchise can't just rest lazily on its laurels if it's going to keep that coveted crown. Enter Bejeweled Twist, a puzzle game that has little in common with its forebear aside from how it compels you to destroy gems at all costs and watch your score soar into the stratosphere. Increased maneuverability has injected a dose of speed into the mix, while explosive bombs threaten you with a premature ending to your fun. Bejeweled Twist shares the addictive nature of the legions of puzzle games that have come before it, but it doesn't stand out from the crowd. The gameplay is often too chaotic to reward careful planning, and the multiplayer feels like little more than a throwaway. But once you get into a block-busting groove, it's hard to pull yourself away.
6253426>Twist and shout. Or at least mutter quietly to yourself.None
The concept in Bejeweled Twist should come as no surprise to puzzle veterans. Your 8-by-8 playing field is covered with colored gems that need to be destroyed for some undefined reason. By situating three same-colored blocks in a line, you cause them to explode, forcing a few new gems to fall from the ceiling. Unlike in the original Bejeweled, you are not beholden to moving your gems only when you can make a match. Rather, you can rotate groups of four pieces at anytime, letting you meticulously place gems for maximum combo impact. The game can be played with a stylus or the standard D Pad plus one button method, and though both get the job done, precision is much easier if you forgo the stylus completely. Either way, you select a 2-by-2 area and tap the screen or a button to rotate it clockwise. Unfortunately, you cannot rotate blocks counterclockwise, which is a bit limiting when you're rushing to make a match.
Lining up three of the same color in a row is easy enough, but if you want to show off and really push the score counter, you're going to have to make bigger matches. Score isn't your only reward for showing such puzzle-solving prowess, either. Match four in a row, and you get a flame gem that shatters everything nearby. Five in a row creates a lightning strike gem that takes out one row and one column, and if you manage to match six in a row, you get a supernova gem, which pretty much annihilates the whole screen. Needless to say, that last one comes in handy but is exceedingly difficult to create. The explosive impact of these special gems is pretty powerful, rocking the screen and spraying bits and pieces of decimated gems all over the place. It's a neat effect and is a worthwhile visual reward to go with your increased score.
These special gems come in handy when the game unleashes a few devious blocks to thwart your progress. Locked gems slowly materialize on the screen. They start with a warning, a benign padlock appearing on a random block. But after you take a turn or two, they solidify into a master lock, stationing a gem in place. The only way to remove one of these is to swing a couple of blocks over to make a match, and it's imperative that you do so quickly because these immovable obstacles can really get in your way. Bombs are even more troubling. These fall from the sky after a match and must be disposed of within a set number of moves. If you fail to line it up with two same-colored blocks, it explodes, and a brief minigame pops up. In this impromptu game of roulette, you tap the screen to stop a spinning wheel. If you line up bombs instead of gems, you lose, and your game is over. Doom (a spiky bomb) is the last obstacle. This slowly counts down your end like the bomb but can be destroyed only by using one of the aforementioned special blocks. If it blows up, there is no minigame to save you. Game over.