Review Date: April 14, 2010
Developer: PopCap Games
With the success of the Facebook version of Bejeweled Blitz, it's a bit of a curious move for PopCap Games to release a $20, downloadable version of what is essentially the same game. The port is a solid and addictive experience, with updated graphics and a few new features. But is it enough to make it worth the $20 price tag?
Does Bigger Mean Better?
If you're unfamiliar with Bejeweled, the concept is simple yet incredibly addictive. You're presented with a grid filled with a number of colored gems, and the goal is to match up lines of three or more in an attempt to rack up as high a score as possible. There are a number of different power-ups you can earn along the way to help inflate your score. The Blitz sub-series, which was originally launched as a Facebook application, is a pared down version that puts the focus on quick bouts of gameplay: you're given one minute to rack up as many points as you can, and that's it.
The downloadable version of Blitz doesn't mess with the formula. It's pretty much the exact same game, albeit with a few small improvements. The most noticeable of these is the much improved graphics: you can think of this version as the HD version. The gems are shiny and gorgeous, but the real star of the show are the stunning special effects. Explosions and other screen distorting effects serve as great eye candy and really help to differentiate this version of the game from its free counterpart.
And this time around you'll also be able to actually play the game in full-screen mode, instead of being relegated to the tiny play field offered in the Facebook version. This not only makes the game look much better, but also makes it easier to avoid clicking on the wrong gem.
The only other real difference between the two versions is the all new badges. These serve as trophies, rewarding you for completing different goals, ranging from racking up a specific high score to destroying a certain number of gems with a single move. Since the base game is fairly simple, these badges help provide an extra incentive to keep playing the game aside from simply topping your previous high score.
Unsurprisingly, the game also makes use of Facebook Connect. This feature allows the two versions of the game to share information. If you achieve a high score in one version of the game, it'll show up in the other as well. You will also be able to earn cash -- the in-game currency used to purchase various helpful items -- and share across both versions.
The Bottom Line
In the end, deciding whether or not the download version of Bejeweled Blitz is worth its price tag comes down to a personal choice. At its core it's the exact same game you can currently play for free on Facebook. But the tantalizing new visuals, addictive new badge system, and ability to play in full-screen mode definitely add a lot to the experience.