A saga-style upgrade

Jewel Quest is practically Match-3 royalty. The original game hit the PC in 2004, and has since been ported across several consoles and portable game systems. It’s even free-to-play on many web-based game sites. Maybe you still tab it out when you hear your boss’s feet sweeping towards your office.

Now Jewel Quest is finally coming to mobile phones and tablets. No surprise there, since the likes of Candy Crush Saga has made Match-3 games a pretty hot ticket. Digital marketplaces are currently brimming with Match-3 titles as a result of their popularity, however. Will one of the genre’s precursors manage to wrench some attention from the candy-crazed masses?

There’s always time for a little Match-3 gaming, and Jewel Quest aims to capture players by giving the original some depth. Whereas the original Jewel Quest doesn’t require much of you beyond turning the sandy portions of the board into gold by making matches, the mobile Jewel Quest goes around the world with a story. You play as an archeologist who’s trotting the globe in search of treasure and wonder. It doesn’t take long before you stumble on both. In the end, however, it’s all just to motivate you into solving puzzles.

Jewel Quest

Though there are some new twists, Jewel Quest‘s core gameplay should feel familiar to series veterans. Each sand-covered game board is scattered with jewels. When you match up jewels of the same color, the sand lying beneath said jewels transforms into gold. When you turn the entire board gold, you move on to the next level.

Jewel Quest definitely contains more tricks and traps than its predecessors, though. The boards are often awkwardly-shaped, which can make it difficult to match three gems. Some boards have other requirements to fulfill: you may need to deposit a certain number of gems into slots, finish a board within a certain amount of moves, or tuck away all your goals while working in a time limit.

Fortunately, you have a very powerful ally on your side. If you match up three lion head coins, you gain a single use of the “Midas touch.” When you activate the Midas touch, you can turn a single sandy panel into gold. That may not sound like much, but when you’re clinging to a single remaining move and the pieces you so desperately need to make that final match are nowhere to be found, the Midas touch may save you.

Jewel Quest

The new Jewel Quest also boasts rich graphics and sound. The visuals are pretty static (this is a Match-3 game, after all), but the character portraits and map screens are beautifully drawn. The jewels also make a satisfying “clink” sound when they shuffle around on the board. It’s the sound of riches you’ll never actually touch.

Jewel Questfor mobile and tablets is up against some tough competition. There’s something to be said for experience, though, and its gem-swapping gameplay is still as addictive as it was nine years ago.