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Bejeweled has completely taken over the world – even your Gran has it on her mobile phone. So it’s no surprise that its creators want to squeeze more money from their cash cow’s gem-studded udders. Sometimes a puzzle game needs a bit of an update in order to keep it fresh. In Twist they’ve taken a wrench to the basic mechanics. You still have to match coloured gems, but now you must rotate a block of four in a clockwise direction. You might see a potential line of three, but it can take a whole lot of moves to make it happen.
It’s much like enjoying bowling and then being offered the chance to do it with your hands tied behind your back. Sure, it feels new, but it takes a hell of a lot of practice to start racking up those mega scores again. Bejeweled virgins will have an easier time, but series fans might find it takes a little while to get up to their usual speeds. Maybe it’s unfair to compare Twist to its older, uncomplicated sister. It has its own new features that make it a pretty different game and they help bring a little strategy to the party.
Even chimps can match colours if there’s a banana in it for them, but it takes real tactics and some serious patience to handle explosives.
New flame and lightning gems detonate when matched, wiping out everything nearby, while bombs heap on the pressure in Classic mode. These candy-coloured nightmares come with a number that counts down with every move you make. Match them and they disappear, but if it gets to zero and it’s still on the board it’ll blow. Game over. If luck is on your side you can win a second chance with a Wheel of Fortune-type mini game, but the more you use it the further your chances of landing on a lucky panel drop. It’s especially annoying when this goes wrong, because you go straight back to level one. That’s soul destroying if you’ve spent hours slogging through the minor levels already.
A level-select feature might have been a soft option, but it would’ve prevented a lot of angry laptop-slamming. Luckily there’s a Zen mode that’s bomb free, perfect for the temperamental, the clumsy or the excessively nervous. The other modes available are Blitz (playing against the clock) and Challenge, which is more of a straight brain-teaser, where, each level comes with a requirement, such as getting rid of eight gems in one move. You have to choose your moves carefully in order to figure it out.
While there may be nothing revolutionary here, it’s still nice to get a bit of extra variety, what with the credit crunch and all. Along with the new addition of lots of things that go boom, these new modes make Twist a respectable entry into the Bejeweled trilogy, but maybe not one that can achieve the same world domination.
Dec 12, 2008
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