As evident in the original Fairy Jewels and now its successor, Fairy Jewels 2, some folks just have it in for those adorable little imps. Previously, it was a malevolent mage. Now, it’s a wicked witch, a ne’er-do-well who’s destroyed the fairies’ home and imprisoned them. Given their plight, you must wing your way to their aid, freeing them and restoring their world in the process.

A magical fantasy for action puzzlers, Fairy Jewels 2 serves up a solid dose of gem-matching goodness that spans 120 levels of jewel-clearing, fairy-freeing entertainment. Included in the mix are an original storyline and characters, over 20 unique items to employ and bonus mini-game levels. Also provided are a spell component and two game modes.

As play begins, you have the choice of indulging via Story Mode or Time Mode. The former, as expecyed, guides you through the game unfolding the fairy-tale as you go. The latter, conversely, allows you to simply play against the clock. Since both modes offer different gem-matching levels to play, it’s really like getting two games in one. As for Story Mode, where most of your time will undoubtedly be spent, you play the role of a sorceress named Kalina who, with the help of several other characters, rescue the fairies and restore their kingdom.

Gameplay is simple enough. You control a magic wand that “casts” jewels, aiming left and right with the mouse. The left mouse button fires a gem; the right swaps colors between the jewel currently selected and the next one in the queue. Your goal is to clear all the gems on a given level in order to free the fairies trapped behind them. Release all the fairies and you advance to the next level. Time is limited, so you can’t dawdle. But, you shouldn’t run short unless you get distracted for a while. You also need to collect as many coins on each level as possible. They’re required to repair various buildings along the way, those that were destroyed earlier by the evil witch.

Gems aren’t the only “weapons” in your fairy rescue arsenal, however. Remember those 20 plus unique items mentioned above? As you progress, these special objects are introduced one at a time to assist in your quest. On hand are goodies such as bombs that you can capture and deploy as needed to destroy gems; rockets and morphers that repaint whole rows or groups of jewels, bricks and steel blocks with the color of the gem launched; and quite a few more.

A completely new addition to Fairy Jewels 2 is spells. They perform actions like turning jewels and bricks into ice, burning them up, eliminating entire jewel groups, and temporarily giving your wand a crosshair and guideline to improve accuracy. As you clear gems from the screen, mana is released that serves to “charge up” the spells in your belt. Three are on hand during play, but you can select from a total of 12 once you learn them all, and alternate your selection between fairy-rescue missions.

You’ll also come across a special bonus mini-game every few levels. Designed as a means of providing extra game points, you’re tasked with shooting as many magic flares as possible before time runs out. But, you need to avoid the evil red flares. Hitting those significantly reduces the time available.

Visually, Fairy Jewels 2 is a step up from its precursor. In fact, production values have increased making it quite a splendid game with lots of eye and ear candy to enjoy. More important, however, is its ease of play and immensely addictive nature. As with the original Fairy Jewels, it’s decidedly difficult to call it quits after playing “just one more level.”

The only real complaint with the first game, a single mode of play, has been answered in the sequel by offering a second timed mode for those who want the gem-play sans the story. The only negative to levy against it concerns the bonus levels. Other than generating extra points, they really serve no purpose within the game and quickly become boring. Otherwise, it’s a winner.

Fairy Jewels 2, like its forerunner, is a gem of a game. It’s a magical, charming, addictive, eminently entertaining treat for the whole family. Wand and fairy dust not included.