Save Emma’s family from certain doom in Jewel Quest Mysteries: The Seventh Gate
Jewel Quest Mysteries: The Seventh Gate follows Trail of the Midnight Heart and Curse of the Emerald Tear in the now popular series that combines Jewel Quest’s famous match-three puzzle gameplay with hidden object scenes. Here, we follow Emma and her family on a trip to Greece. Emma’s husband and daughter have mysteriously disappeared and it’s up to you, as Emma, to find them before they’re lost forever.
For those unfamiliar with previous Jewel Quest Mysteries titles, the focus here is far more on hidden object gameplay than on match-three puzzles. As it stands, you’ll find a map showing a path that you believe your husband and daughter to have taken, and will need to visit locations on the marked trail, finding items along the way. You’ll find fragmented pieces of ancient Jewel Boards that will allow you a few moments of the traditional match-three gameplay, but the majority of your time will be spent squinting in each scene as items are so well hidden (or poorly, actually).
The game suffers from some muddy, grainy graphics that make finding items difficult enough (as items become blurry when placed in the far ground), but this is only compounded by the fact that most spaces are filled with an overwhelming amount of tan or green tones. In addition, items like a normally bright red strawberry might be colored tan instead, only adding to the challenge.
Each chapter of the game is timed, as you’re given 30 minutes to finish all required scenes (each location comes with 12 items, plus bonuses that you can voluntarily seek out). Depending on how quickly you can find these items, you may simply run out of time. Fail to finish the chapter in time and you’ll start over from the beginning, which is frustrating at best and a deal-breaker at worst.
Adding to your journey are several bonus items found in each scene. You’ll find map pieces, tools and the like that can be taken to other locations and used to light lamps, unlock safes, etc. and can also find Gems or Gold Coins that can be used to purchase power-ups for match-three gameplay segments, or allow you to stockpile extra hints, respectively. These gems stick out more than any other item in the scenes, as they’re the only ones with any real color, but if you have any real experience with the match-three genre, you’ll likely never need to purchase those power-ups anyway.
For all of the game’s faults, there is a never-ending hint recharge that will allow you to free yourself from a bind even if all of the Gold Coins have been found and used, and you can leave a scene and come back to it at any time without losing your progress if you do happen to get frustrated. There are also moving hidden object scenes that are used to introduce new parts to the story or connect chapters, which do a great job to break up the monotony of visiting some of the same locations more than once and finding some of the same items.
All told, Jewel Quest Mysteries: The Seventh Gate continues to suffer like its predecessors before by focusing too much on revisiting scenes and not enough on gameplay variety. For hidden object purists, there’s enough here in the game’s core mechanics to make it worthwhile, but if you enjoy a more leisurely gameplay experience, where you don’t have to worry about being timed, this one likely isn’t for you.