Bejeweled Blitz made it's appearance as a free Facebook app instead of a retail package. It brought a different twist to the classic versions and let you challenge against your friends. Now you can challenge your friends over Xbox Live with party mode that features up to 16 players.
Bejeweled is about matching identical gems to form a set of three. Doing so will earn you points which are needed to progress the levels. There's no endless mode like the original. Blitz is about finding as many gems as you possibly can within sixty seconds. When the level is over your points will be added on to the score needed to proceed. You must replay the same level over and over until you have the amount needed for the next level.
You are reward when you form more than three gems. These trigger off special gems. For example, the flame gem will appear if you match four gems in a row. You can then match this gem to blow up other gems. Speed is also rewarded to you if you're fast. Matching gems quickly will give you a speed bonus and gain you extra points.
Apart from the classic mode, you can play Twist Mode which changes the way you match the gems. Instead of matching them down or across, you must rotate them in a circle. This gives you more opportunities to match sets and is a nice addition to the series.
Both modes, Classic and Blitz can be played online in party matches with up to 16 players. One on one matches can also be played in duel matches. The most entertaining feature I found though was party mode. It shows a ladder of your progress against the other players. As your earn higher scores your gamer pic will float in a bubble passing the other players. It's a nice way to show your beating players and can be extremely addictive.
Bejeweled Blitz Live doesn't offer anything new to the genre. If your after a relaxing puzzle game I would suggest playing one of the previous titles instead. But if you love fast paced gameplay and have friends to challenge in online leaderboards, Blitz will be your hidden gem.
Review by Gareth Smith