So, seeing as I just got my Acekard, I can finally play PopCap's latest games, Bookworm and Bejeweled. Well, not exactly Bookworm since my DS hinge is kinda broken (read my blogs more!). Well, anyway, I thought I'd review PopCap's take on the ever-popular Bejeweled franchise and its first iteration on the handheld, Bejeweled Twist. And what can I say, PopCap delivers. Sorry about the image, I had to replace it. It wasn't showing up anymore. So now we got a boring, regular logo pic. The DS is no stranger to the 3-match puzzler. Hell, there's tons of 'em on the DS. It's a concept that's incredibly simple, addictive, and easy to make. You've got the shovelware of sorts such as Jewel Quest, Cradle of Rome, 7 Wonders, and some more interesting takes on it like Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords and this game. I'm guessing PopCap realized that they needed something original compared to their classic Bejeweled game. So, they gave us Bejeweled Twist, a "twist" (pardon my pun) on the game. It was a wise decision, even if some people are turned off by the mechanics, since we're dealing with a system overpopulated with Bejeweled clones and the like. Smart move, PopCap. Anyway, as mentioned before, gameplay in Bejeweled Twist is different from traditional Bejeweled. It's still the whole "match 3-of-a-kind" mechanic, but instead of swapping two pieces to match 3, you have to rotate a set of 4, clockwise. It's something you either like or dislike, but I for one like it. In the beginning, you'll definitely suck at this game if you've never played it before. You'll be slow and making a lot of impractical moves. However, given a little bit of time, you'll start noticing methods, techniques, and patterns to master it. I have to also mention I've gotten "Tetris Syndrome" from this game. For those of you who've never played Tetris (aka 1% of you), Tetris Syndrome is when after you play the game, you still visualize it in your head. It's really fucking weird. I've had that happen here, and usually it indicates whether a puzzler is good enough for me. Anyway, the twisting mechanic is quite deep overall, but it's not for anyone. Anyway, Twist has 4 modes: Classic, Zen, Challenge, and Blitz. Classic is your standard "harder as you go" gameplay, where you'll play levels that increase in difficulty as you go. It's easy as pie in the beginning but it requires a lot of thinking as you go on. Zen is a very easy going, relaxing game with no real difficulty and is mainly just wracking up points. Challenge is basically an objective-based take on the game where you have to do something, like destroying 8 gems in one move or something. Blitz is your standard, time based game where you're given 5 minutes (right?) to get the highest score. For many, Blitz will be the huge appeal factor here, since it's fast and really brings out your strengths with the games. The other modes aren't crapshoots, though. Zen is easy-peasy, but still highly addictive and a nice, limitless game. Classic is challenging and will keep you sharped with your Twist skills. Challenge is probably the weakest of them all, since there is eventually an end to it, but still offers some unique fun. As for the controls, you can use the face buttons or the stylus, although the best choice is probably the stylus. It's spot-on and easy to rotating. You simply tap in the middle of four gems to "lock on" to them and then tap them again to rotate. It's easy and makes the game fit the DS like a glove. Graphics and sound aren't exactly key for Bejeweled, but still work well in the game. Graphics are pretty standard Bejeweled looking, with 2-D gems, explosions, and other. It's not ugly or groundbreaking, but it's pleasant. The audio can be described as "quasi-futuristic elevator music". It's generic but it fills up the white noise and is pretty amusing. You also have the usual Bejeweled "God-like voice" in there, although I found the voice to be a little too quiet. Explosions and other effects both look and sound as good as they do on your computer (unless you're using fancy surround sound or something). Overall, Bejeweled Twist is a great example of how casual games should be designed for the DS. Not just easy cash-ins, but good concepts built in with a well-polished game and with great appeal for hardcore and softcore users. While the Twist design may be offsetting for some, those who enjoy it will find this DS version to be more than excellent. Presentation: A wise choice to use a unique take on Bejeweled to stick out of the quagmire of 3-match puzzlers on the DS. Menus are presented nicely, functional while attractive. 9/10 Graphics: Nothing too impressive, but it looks decent. Regular Bejeweled gems and animations that work just as well on the DS. Nothing eye popping. 7.5/10 Audio: A quasi-futuristic tracklist of elevator music. It fills the white noise with something pleasant, though. The traditional Bejeweled announcer voice is here, although he seems a little too quiet. Animation sounds are nice. 7/10 Gameplay: You'll either love or hate the twist mechanic, but it works great. A good take on 3-match puzzling that adds a great level of depth and strategy. 4 different modes, all of which are good, add some nice variety. Stylus controls work perfectly. 9/10 Lasting Appeal: It's a pretty timeless game for 3-match puzzler fans and has tons of that treasured "pick up and play" value. Zen and Classic modes are endless and Blitz offers a great, short fix of twisting. Two player support is a nice touch that works, but no Download Play option. It does, however, work with both Bejeweled Twist's retail and DSiWare versions. Some online modes, like leaderboards and online play, would've been nice, but the game still has lots of replay value. 9/10 Overall: 8.5/10 IT'S A TWIST!