Friday, 6 December 2013

Review: Jewel Master: Cradle of Egypt 2 3D (3DS)

Puzzle games that are addictive tend to get copied a lot. Such is the case of Tetris, and later another less-known (but also Russian developed) game called Shariki. Shariki was the original inspiration for what would eventually become Bejewelled, and  thus an entire generation of what is collectively known as "match three" games was born.

Jewel Master: Cradle of Egypt 2 is another game in the Jewel Master series, of which over a quarter million games have been sold. Built upon the basics of a match-three game it does add some extra elements in to make things a little more exciting.

First of all, there are 100 levels in the game over five historical epochs (which is a fancy word for time period). You can move symbols around in four directions in order to create a chain of at least three matching symbols in either a horizontal or vertical direction. Where some games work on a time limit or a maximum score, Jewel Master has certain tiles that are coloured differently.

Producing a match turns these tiles into the "normal" colour. Once all of the tiles that are highlighted have been converted, you are able to proceed to the next level.

A slight twist in this game is that you are "building" Egypt and as such between levels you get a tile "slider" game, which can be skipped if you find it too frustrating and although it's a nice change of pace it doesn't really add that much to the game.

The "3D" portion amounts to nothing more than some still images, although it is still effective. It's completely irrelevant to the gameplay. Having said that, if you like Egyptian "elements" and music, you will definitely like the presentation of the game. In fact, if you have any of the previous games in the series this is really what amounts to an expansion package with no levels. There isn't much that is going to surprise you here, but then there isn't going to be much to disappoint you here, either.

It's hard to score a game like this. You either love this type of game or you don't. There's no multiplayer, only a couple of basic gameplay modes and 100 levels to get through. There are many similar games on other platforms for less money (or even free) but if this is your platform of choice this is just about as good as it gets. There's absolutely nothing wrong here, just nothing unexpected.

- Syd Bolton

The Good:
- Executes the match-three formula with good execution and a true Egyptian feel
- Introduces some extended elements beyond a standard match-three game

The Bad:
- Doesn't really add anything to the genre
- 3D elements, while present, are completely static

Score: 6.5 / 10

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Syd Bolton surrounds himself in thousands of classic video games as Canada's top video game collector at the Personal Computer Museum (http://www.pcmuseum.ca) in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

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