Of all casual games, there is one name that tends to stand out more than the rest: the poster child of the genre, from PopCap Games – Bejeweled. With millions of users across a multitude of platforms, this simple puzzle game has grown and evolved without measure, and with each rendition becoming slightly different and slightly better (at least in theory). One such version of the title comes for the Facebook platform by the name of Bejeweled Blitz.
If one can imagine it, Blitz is actually an even simpler version of the original versions, or more accurately a shaved down version. For those that may be unfamiliar with the Bejeweled franchise, the game is a very simple puzzle game whose basic mechanics and crisp, yet simple, production values have proven to be the basis of dozens of other small titles.
The objective is to score as many points as possible by swapping jewels of varying colors in order to make rows of the same color that consist of three or more. Doing so will remove them from the board as new ones fall to take their place, and should the newly relocated gems line up as three or more to a color, they will be removed as well. The more jewels you remove, the more points you get. You continue to do this until the game ends (sometimes it’s a puzzle, sometimes a time limit, and sometimes it goes on forever). It is these basic rules that govern Blitz, but as the name would suggest, it is a very short game.
The player is granted one minute to score as many points as possible. That’s about it, but there is some hope as the game is dubbed “beta“ (though so many Facebook titles have that tagged on them it seems to have lost its meaning, because it almost never goes away) and the one minute game is classified as the “current tournament,” suggesting new game play options may come along. As for social features, the game doesn’t use anything particularly new. Scoring more points earns you a few badges to show off in your Facebook profile, and like most social game games, when you play, your score is compared to that of your friends. Unfortunately, it is only your friends, as there is no global leaderboard system.
This makes for some exceedingly simple game play that doesn’t have a lot of options or replay value, especially considering the marathon and puzzle modes that other versions of Bejeweled offer. However, one feature that Blitz does have that comes off as positive, is that your score accumulates with each game to form a “team score.” The higher this score the better prizes you are eligible to win.
Yes, as a promotional means, PopCap, at least currently, is having drawings for prizes that range from a free game, all the way up to a free laptop. Of course, the better the prize, the more you have to play to even be entered into the drawing (100,000 points for the game, 1 million for the computer).
Prizes and give-aways are always a good tool to drive traffic, and for Bejeweled Blitz, that equates to about 1.6 million monthly uniques. If you are a fan of the franchise, then Blitz is worth a play as you might be able to win something with the countless hours that tend to be looged with such games. However, if you are looking for something new with this version, don’t get your hopes too high, because you simply will not find it here.