Experience one minute of game over and over again
Bejeweled Blitz LIVE is a game that takes advantage of its platform, offering a stylish presentation, smart controls, and great use of your Xbox Live Friends List and Leaderboards. However, the no frills treatment of the core Bejeweled gameplay makes it a bad value and hard to recommend.
The game of Bejeweled Blitz is quite simple; you start with an 8x8 screen of gems and match 3 or more of the same colour as fast as you can in one minute. In this Xbox Live Arcade version, you can choose to play one of two variations: Classic, where you swap adjacent gems using the face buttons, or Twist, where you rotate squares of 4 gems using A and B to rotate clockwise or counterclockwise. The game controls adequately with a controller and analog stick, though it’s a bit imprecise compared to a mouse - I certainly cursed my screen a few times after some inadvertent twists.
Your enjoyment of this XBLA version lies squarely in how much you enjoy competing for high scores. Bejeweled Blitz LIVE differs from the free Facebook version: there is no currency to earn and thus no Boosts or bonuses to apply before the beginning of your round. Once you choose Classic or Twist in Bejeweled Blitz LIVE, each round plays out in exactly the same way. If you’re not enjoying the game after a few rounds, there is very little this game presents to win you over.
On the other hand, if you can’t get enough of chasing higher and higher scores, you’ll find that this game is stylish and polished with game modes focused on adding some competition to push you along.
The game features some competitive modes that make good use of Xbox Live to add some variety while maintaining the focus on high scores. You can Battle one-on-one split-screen on the same console or over Xbox Live, with the game rating both players’ style as well as score and handing some bonus XP to the winner. You can also Party Mode which jumps on the “just-one-more-game” appeal of Blitz and sets you against several other players, showing how your scores are climbing relative to theirs. The core game itself doesn’t change when you compete; however, I found these modes added a nice sense of urgency to the already tense minute-long rounds. I didn’t have much trouble finding opponents on Live and I often prefer playing this way than by myself.
Ultimately the appeal of Bejeweled Blitz LIVE is in your interest in refining your skills in a minute of Blitz over and over again. As a decent player focused on Twist this is certainly a game I enjoy returning to again and again. Classic players are better off spending their time with the free Facebook version over this XBLA adaptation.