Bejeweled Stars – Can It Crush Candy Competition?

4.0 Overall Score
Gameplay: 4/5
Design: 4/5
Duration: 4.5/5

Match fueled flow to the levels | Tons you'll want to play through | High quality design

Doesn't reinvent the wheel | Feels like previous matching games

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Bejeweled originally launched way back in 2000, and Popcap’s match three game widely popularized the genre. It’s one of the most popular genres in the App Store, and the Bejeweled formula of swapping colored items to make matches is one of the most widely mirrored styles. Bejeweled has seen numerous sequels and offshoots over the years, but the most popular match three game over the past couple of years has been Candy Crush. King adopted the Bejeweled formula to make Candy Crush, and now EA is flipping the script with the just released Bejeweled Stars.
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Bejeweled Stars freshens up the gem swapping style with many of the features that Candy Crush has now popularized. There’s a lengthy level map with 205 levels included, as well as Facebook connectivity to show your friends’ progress with individual level high scores. Within a given level you can make matches of four in a line or four in a square, a “T” or “L” shape, or five in a line to create special gems that can clear away a lot of gems. If you’re familiar with Candy Crush, these special matches will be very familiar, and some of the level set-ups based on these special matches are also as expected. Bejeweled Stars definitely adopts the structure of Candy Crush, but the gameplay is the distinguisher of the two.

The match three formula has been done too many times to count, and yet Bejeweled Stars really emphasizes what the genre is all about. Candy Crush is more of a slow moving methodical game that’s trying to replicate the formula, whereas Bejeweled Stars is optimizing their original formula. Each level in Stars is all about setting up cascading matches through the right placed basic matches as well as timely use of the special matches. The level layouts are set-up to create big chains of matches and special matches allowing for great combos that clear considerable portions of the board. It’s a more fun loving set-up as you can get into the flow of specific matches.
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Bejeweled Stars doesn’t reinvent the wheel, and instead just offers a new form of the well-known Bejeweled formula. There’s a consistent cycling of level objectives as you need to clear crystal tiles, pop butterfly gems, detonate a certain number of special matches, and other matching challenges. Through it all, it’s just great to see a board clear as you find the right matches, and the overall flow entices you to go from level to level. The game is free to play with a set-up similar to Candy Crush with five lives at a time as well as optional power-ups, though you can earn those through the course of the game. You can fully enjoy Bejeweled Stars for free, and get a lot of enjoyment out of it in one session and potentially down the road.

Bejeweled Stars (Free, Universal) nails the essence of match three with a compelling revitalization of the franchise making it well worth picking up.


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