Familiar with the series? Just here to find out whether this is worth some more of your money and attention? Here's the quick and dirty: It's the best version of Bejewelled yet. If you want to play it on your telly, buy it immediately.
Still here? Let's do a quick breakdown on the concept. Bejewelled is a match-3 game. In fact, it all but invented the genre* and has been downloaded for various devices in various versions more than 500 million times.
It works by challenging the player to simply swap a gem for an adjacent gem, in order that the resulting configuration of gems contains at least one group of three gems that match either horizontally or vertically - hence: match 3.
So what on earth could there be to add to the concept to justify a new game? In short - a lot. Popcap have pulled out all the stops in creating Bejeweled 3, resulting in an amazing array of game types that all leverage the basic "match three gems to succeed" concept.
If you want to just play the classic Bejeweled, that's here - in two different versions. There's an endless "Zen" mode, where you can play without pressure, and there's a fixed-length "classic" mode, where you play your best in an attempt to climb to the top of the global leaderboards.
There are a host of other modes, too, the most compelling of which is Quest mode. Here, you must complete a series of challenges in order to proceed to the next set - each of which generally adds a couple of new challenges as well as revisiting some of those from a previous set, albeit with increasingly difficult objectives.
The quests in Quest mode are clever extensions of the mechanic, requiring you to match gems to free butterflies, uncover treasure hidden beneath the gems, or even play a game of poker. They're all very easy to pick up on and without exception are a fun twist that require that you look at the game in a new way in order to succeed.
There's a bunch of other modes, too, including lightning mode (a 60 score attack mode, which is essentially identical to Bejeweled Blitz), Butterflies, Diamond Mine, Ice Storm, and Poker. Amazingly, each game type feels like a solid and different enough experience to justify its inclusion - there are no filler modes. Just be wary of timed modes like Lightning - they dial up the stress levels a lot, which will definitely impact your performance.
Bejeweled 3, as stated at the beginning of the review, is the best version of Bejeweled yet. The new modes (particularly Quest mode) are compelling variations on the core gem-swapping theme, and playing it with giant gems on your TV works just as well as it did way back when Bejeweled first appeared on the Palm Pilot.
It's a classic for a reason and Popcap continue to demonstrate their fanatical quest for perfection through ongoing dominance of the genre. Get it. You won't be sorry you did.
* The first known match-3 game was in fact Shariki, but Bejeweled popularized the concept and therefore made a much more important impact on the genre