Bejeweled Blitz: Live
- Xbox Live Arcade - 800 Microsoft Points
Is it possible to have enough Bejeweled in your life? Probably not. PopCap certainly seems to work on the assumption that we could all do with another fix, even if it means just tinkering with the classic match-three formula a tiny bit. It's the Mini Pringles of puzzle gaming.
As usual, the idea is simply to twizzle gems until they line up in either rows or columns of three or more of the same colour, at which point said gems disappear. No change there, then, but there are now more ways to indulge in your gem-matching madness.
First up is the regular Classic mode, where you select which adjacent gem you want to swap and try to fashion a match, while Twist involves rotating blocks of four gems at once (either clockwise or counter clockwise) to achieve the same net result.
The big difference with Blitz, though, is that you've got just 60 seconds to show what you're made of, and it's a formula that definitely lends itself to competitive score-whoring over Xbox Live. Just like the ludicrously popular Facebook version, it's all about shaming your less spatially adept friends into submission via the magic of high scores.
But where Blitz justifies its 800 point price tag is the rather desirable ability to play simultaneous 16-player Party matches online, as well as one-on-one matches locally or online over Live. On top of all that, the various leaderboards make long-term Bejeweled addiction a viable, even socially desirable outcome. You can even form a team fercryingoutloud.
Honestly, the question isn't whether you should play Bejeweled or not. It's more of a question of how much you covet the glory of fast-paced simultaneous competition.
- PSN - £6.29
If there's one type of game the PS3 isn't exactly lacking in, it's the brick-breaker. Well, tough luck, kids: here's another one to remind us that it's nearly 35 years since Breakout first invited us to smash it.
'Blessed' with a somewhat overwhelming 150 stages and more power-ups and 'ships' (i.e. paddles) than you can wave a dismissive arm at, TikGames' deliberately enigmatic attempt certainly won't leave anyone wanting for content.
Where it does leave you wanting is for an adequate explanation of what's required. You'll bounce around each level picking up rings, collecting power-ups and earning upgrades, but once you've unlocked a new paddle it fails to give you any clue of what advantages it brings over another, or how to utilise its functions. Often there's an air of mystery that just leads to mute frustration.
Persist, though, and you can eke enjoyment through the fug, and progress to the more imaginative stages where obstacles often move in sweeping, rotating waves to add to the fun. Once you peel away the layers of needless complexity and start to figure out which of the power-ups to avoid, there's fun to be had curving the ball and causing maximum mischief with unexpectedly destructive pickups.
If you wish Breakout games looked and sounded like they were made by Amiga obsessives in the early nineties, Ricochet HD might have an unlikely allure. The rest of you should probably look up far superior Shatter.