Jewel Quest Mysteries Review



A seek and find game about an archaeologist looking for treasure and ancient secrets? Haven't we heard this before? Not like this!

Main screenshot

The original Jewel Quest is a very popular match three game that spawned a number of sequels. Most sequels take the major game concepts and add a few extra elements to improve what was already a winning formula. Jewel Quest Mysteries breaks that mold by adding seek and find elements to the game by retaining some of the match three action. This hybrid or two game types really works.

Let's see how.

Journal
Journal entries move the
story along
This casual game starts with the usual archaeological tale of lost jewels, in this case an emerald. Using the Archaeologist's notebook to move the story forward, you're shown a map where the location of available quests are. Upon selecting a quest, you're given either a seek and find task or a match three puzzle.

The object of a match three puzzle is to move a jewel icon on the jewel board to an adjacent square so a sequence of three or more of them match. The matching gems then vanish and are replaced by new ones that shift down from the top while the tiles behind the matching gems turn gold. The ultimate goal is to turn all of the tiles on the entire puzzle gold by matching gems. This is how a typical match three game works.

more corners make the puzzle harder
More corners make
the puzzle harder
The match three section of the game becomes more difficult with advancing levels through a variety of modifications. Here are a few of those modifications. If more types of gems are added to the board, it becomes harder to match three of them. The hardest section to match is in any of the corners. Jewel boards that have more corners are harder to complete. Advanced gem boards have gems that have to be matched more than once in order to vanish. Some non gem icons are introduced that give negative points when matched and remove gold tiles.

Wooden Hanger
Oversized wooden
hanger is in the
upper left corner
In addition to match three puzzles, there are seek and find pages as well. Seek and find games have the user view a cluttered scene and try to find certain objects. Different games handle this in different ways. For example, some games have the user solve puzzles discovered objects and the objects are proportionally sized based on the surroundings these objects. Jewel Quest Mysteries, uses neither of these options. Finding the objects is enough and the objects are not sized proportionally to the rest of the scene. overly large or small objects are harder to find since the context of the scene offers no help and your search must focus on only the shape of the object.

To make the search more challenging, they must be completed in a certain amount of time. Users are discouraged from randomly clicking by getting a 30 second penalty whenever they click three times on objects with no result. You can avoid the penalty by not clicking on all of the located objects at once. It's better to mix certain choices with two experimental clicks.

Upgrades

You can collect gold coins and gems from either the match three jewel board or from the seek and find screen. If you get stuck in a seek and find puzzle, you can get help by using three gold coins. Gems can be used to purchase upgrades which can improve a weak section of your gameplay. Upgrades for seek and find include longer clock time, hints finding jewels or the ability to hold more gold coins. Upgrades for match three include puzzles that start with tiles that are already gold. You can skip certain puzzles but you forfeit your point bonuses at the end of the level and any specials, such as gold coins, that you may have collected.

Completed match three

Jewel Quest Mysteries has done a fine job of combining two types of game genres into a challenging hybrid that surpasses either genre individually. The two sides of the game are tied together by the player's ability to use specials gained in one area to help in another. Not only have the winning concepts of the original Jewel Quest been retained for the match three section, but the overall Jewel Quest look has been adapted to create a successful seek and find element as well. Even the music is engaging.



This is how I rate :


Cost - Less than $10

Available Platforms - PC and Mac

Gameplay - Both the seek and find and match three parts of this game are handled very well. Upgrades that allow you to improve weak parts of your gameplay is great feature.

Graphics - Well drawn graphics make for a challenging seek and find experience. You won't miss an item due to lousy lighting.

Originality - Blending two types game genres was a great idea.

Strong Points - The concept, gameplay and general appearance of Jewel Quest Mysteries is all top notch.

Weak Points - Some may have a problem with the objects not being proportional to the rest of the scene. I felt it added to the challenge.

Boredom/Frustration Ratio: 1/1 - The puzzles are challenging without becoming impossible. Any problems you may run into can be offset by wise use of your upgrades. The different types of puzzles keep the game interesting.

Overall Rating: 10

Conclusion: This game is a winner. If you like match three or seek and find, you'll find something you like here.


Download Jewel Quest Mysteries for PC
or
Download Jewel Quest Mysteries for Mac

from The Shareware Genie and try it for one hour free. The price has been reduced to $9.99.