Bejeweled is a puzzle game that came about in the wake of the popularity of tetris. Unlike many tetris-inspired games, it is not much like tetris. In its own hypnotic way, you may find it even more addictive. Bejeweled 2 is a version released in late 2004.

The laws of physics of the Bejeweled 2 universe are as follows:

The universe has two spatial dimensions, with four directions: up, down, left and right. The universe seems finite. The game area consists of squares arranged into an 8-by-8 board. Though the gems do not touch, an exclusion principle applies. Each square is either empty or occupied by a gem. Each gem sits squarely at the centre of a square, though they are seen to move smoothly from one square to another. The following varieties of gems may be observed:

  • Triangular, purple gems. These are shaped like an isosceles triangle, one point upwards.
  • Square, red gems. These are set into the board with sides parallel to the game square.
  • Square, yellow gems. These are set into the board with sides at 45 degrees to the game square.
  • Rounded square green gems. These are set into the board with sides parallel to the game square.
  • Kite-shaped blue gems. The point of the kite is always downwards.
  • Six-sided orange gems. These have points at the top and bottom, and vertical sides.
  • Round white gems.

Bejewelled is a game for one player, though your house rules may permit kibitzing or team play.

Each move consists of swapping two adjacent gems. The gems must be next to each other horizontally or vertically. Diagonals play no part in the physics of the bejewelled universe. A valid move must result in three or more gems of the same kind forming a row - horizontal or vertical, diagonals play no role.

As soon as such an assemblage of gems is formed, it destroys the gems involved. Thereafter a force much like gravity takes effect, and all gems above an empty cell move down into the cell below, stopping at the bottom edge of the board. In all game versions except "puzzle", the empty spaces at the top of the board are immediately filled by some force or entity above the board creating or dropping gems. It is not known if there is an infinite space above containing these gems, or if gems are created in some converse of their destruction.

Whether the sequence of gems is predermined or generated on the spot is not known. Whether it is random or according to some subtle and possibly malicious scheme is also not known. What can be observed is that the types of gems appear in roughly equal quantities.

The law that three or more gems in a row is unstable applies to gems just dropped, and to the new arrangement of gems caused by gems being destroyed beneath. However it does not apply to gems in motion. E.g. if a red gem appears, falls down and passes red gems on either side at the same time, nothing occurs. But if it comes to rest there, all three will be destroyed. This chain reaction is referred to as a cascade.

Four gems of the same kind can be placed in a row when there are two of the same kind, a different gem, then one of the first kind again, and the different gem is exchanged. When this happens, the gem that is exchanged in to form the four in a row does not disappear, but becomes a power gem. It is the same kind of gem as before, but now has an extra sparkle in the middle of it. If a power gem is later destroyed by any means, it explodes; destroying all adjacent (even diagonally adjacent) gems of any colour. This may destroy other power gems in a cascade.

A power gem is also created if the placed gem creates three of the same colour in a row twice over, once horizontally and once vertically, by being placed at the corner of an "L" shape.

Five gems of the same kind can be placed in a row when there are two of the same kind, a different gem, then two of the first kind again, and the different gem is exchanged. When this happens, the gem that is exchanged in to form the five in a row does not disappear, but becomes a hypercube, which does not look cube-shaped at all, rather being a circle with rainbow-fringed edges containing a crackling energy. Unlike the power gem, the hypercube is effectively colourless, since it will not react with neighbouring gems no matter what kind are manouvered into place next to it. Three or more hypercubes can be placed in a row without a reaction occuring. However the hypercube is not inert, it will react with any neighbour when it itself is moved. When the hypercube is exchanged with a neighbour, the containment field is ruptured, releasing the energy, which then wreaks vengeance by destroying all gems on the board of the same type as its attacker.

Another pointless but fun thing to do is to exchange two adjacent hypercubes and watch them annihilate each other.

There are four types of Game: Classic, Action, Puzzle and Endless.

In the classic game, there is no time limit, and the game is over if there are no legal moves.

In the timed game, there is a time limit. Moves buy time, especially cascades, and the game is over when the time runs out.

In the puzzle game, the player is not presented with a full board, but with a pre-determined series of boards partly filled with gems. No new gems are given. The object is to make legal moves ending with a completely empty board. You are then progressed to the next puzzle.

The later puzzles also have rocks, which are irregularly grey-black shaped inert particles. They fill board cells as gems and are moved as gems. They do not react when placed in a row, and so must be destroyed by a power gem or hypercube.

Bombs are also found in later puzzles - they detonate like power gems, but do so after a set number of moves, and the puzzle-solver must therefore have them in the correct place at that time.

The endless game is much like the classic game, however boards with no legal moves are altered to allow the game to continue.

All of these games except the puzzle are divided into levels based on certain increments of score.

This writepup concerns Bejewelled 2 (v1.0), on Palm OS 5.
Bejewelled 2 is © 2005 Popcap inc, Astralware Ltd.

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