Jewel Quest Deluxe a jewel when it comes to an engaging Match-3

Posted: June 17, 2009 in Puzzle

Match 3 games are prevalent for the iPhone/iPod Touch platform, and the ones that standout are those that provide a new or unique twist whether it be through a storyline tie-in, strategic elements, or challenges that make them addicting. Jewel Quest Deluxe accomplishes all of this not by providing anything that one would consider innovative or even new. Instead, the game incorporates several existing concepts to create an engaging play experience that borders on addicting.

The story in Jewel Quest Deluxe follows a guy named Rupert as he looks for jewels in his journey through India. Told through brief text intros prior the each level, the storyline isn’t particularly deep, but then again, it’s more about the game than the story. The game has different backgrounds and soundtrack for each of the chapters with smooth animations and graphics. Honestly, Rupert looks like a young Indiana Jones.

What differentiates Jewel Quest Deluxe from other Match-3 games is that each of the 36 levels set in a progressive linear campaign offers a different type of gameplay forcing you to tweak your strategic thinking. In all, there are 4 different types of gameplay modes mixed into the levels which all look relatively simple at first, but can be challenging in play. For example, in one level, the objective may be to turn the board gold, while the next involves making matches using a particular type of jewel within a limited time period.

Further still, boss battles are also included where you go head-to-head in a turn-based format with the AI to see who can make the most matches under a certain set of rules. What this creates is an interesting dynamic so you’re not playing the same type of game over and over again. One thing I noticed is that the AI can be hit or miss, although I did lose a few games here and there. The game provides a variety of different gameplay and goes beyond the basic “clear the board” concept. A Quick Play mode is included allowing you to play levels or bosses successfully completed as part of the 36-level campaign.

In addition, Jewel Quest Deluxe provides power ups in the form of coins that are acquired by matching three gold coins. These can be accumulated and used at any time by tapping the little jewel in the bottom left corner. You’ll need to be careful about letting them fall off the board since they can be acquired by the bosses.

Shatter—Destroy the jewel of your choice
Unearth—Dig up a buried jewel
Whirlwind—Swap two jewels on the board
Spectrum—Destroy all jewels of the same color

The power ups come in handy, but this is an area where the game feels a bit weak in terms of creativity.

A statistics page keeps track of jewels matched, coins used, match 4s and 5s and the longest cascade. In addition, Jewel Quest Deluxe has an achievement system where you can earn awards for a variety of things including meeting point requirements, combo matches, and margin for victory over bosses. However, a few strange ones are thrown in too. One is called Tough Luck which is given for three losses in a row on a single board, which I have the distinction of earning now. Another one worth mentioning is Crippling Loss given when losing to a boss with more than 60% difference.

While it doesn’t deliver a truly new game, Jewel Quest Deluxe successfully takes existing concepts and puts them to together to create an addicting experience. Solid in gameplay with a decent presentation, Jewel Quest Deluxe is a terrific game.

Albie Meter: 4 Stars (recommended to puzzlers who enjoy Match-3 or just looking for a new, yet no so new, approach to the category)


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