Impressions

Published on April 23rd, 2017 | by Graham

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Jewel Quest: Seven Seas Impressions

Impressions are based on a time-limited free demo of the game - they're not reviews and don't have a score.

I’ve never been a big fan of match-3 games, historically speaking (apart from Puzzle Quest, which combined match-3 with an RPG to form a work of sheer genius).

But Jewel Quest: Seven Seas may just be the game that brings me round on the genre.

Most of you are probably familiar with match-3 games, but just to recap quickly, they’re a series of puzzles in which you swap objects to form lines of three or more identical ones.  They then disappear, and the objects above drop down.  There’s often a goal to each level, just as making a certain number of lines in a time limit, or clearing a particular colour within a set number of moves.

The thing is, I’ve always found them incredibly random.  There’s a limited number of possible moves you can make at a time, so I generally just make one, see what happens, and see if it moves me closer to the goal.  Repeat until finished or stuck.

As a result I’ve found match-3 games a bit tedious, really.  There just didn’t seem very much to them.

And so it went with Jewel Quest: Seven Seas at first.  I sailed through the first eight levels, clicking fairly randomly.

Then I reached level nine.  In which I had to form multiple lines of four, which combine to form ships wheels, which I then had to maneuver into one of four tricky-to-reach slots at the bottom, after which I could ping them off to ring one of two bells.

And I got stuck.   Seriously, seriously stuck.  I was going to give up to be honest; I just couldn’t be bothered playing enough times until random chance swung my way.

The dreaded Level 9

But something made me perservere, and I realised that if lined up the ships wheels just so above the slots, and then I could make that move and then that move, and that would drop one of the wheels down to just above a slot, and I could get another wheel into that slot, and pinging that across would both ring the bell and drop the other wheel down into position…

Well, essentially I started treating it as, and respecting it as, a proper puzzle game.  Jewel Quest: Seven Seas is tricky enough that it requires real thought, even on these earlier stages of its 120 puzzles (having spent an hour clearing the first 13, there’s plenty of game here).

I even went back to level 9 just to check if I could do it again by puzzling it through, and it hadn’t been blind luck – and I completed it easily.

Graphically it’s fine, with some nice island-themed maps and backgrounds, and an unobtrusive background score.  And there’s a vague plot about, I dunno, something to do with a couple being interviewed by their daughter about how they explored some islands and solved loads of puzzles.  Maybe it all makes more sense if you’ve played other games in the Jewel Quest series.

But the presentation is kind of irrelevant.  The only thing that matters to me is that it’s the first ‘true’ match-3 I’ve ever clicked with (I’m not counting Puzzle Quest).  And the first one I’m likely to go back to, after these impressions are done.

I played this using gamehouse.com, who have generously provided me with a free access to their service. At $10 per month for unlimited access to all their games, it's genuinely a great deal. Plus you get a one hour demo of all of their games for free.


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