A couple of months ago, I wouldn’t have really called myself an online multiplayer fan. But with all of the great MP games being released lately, I’ve definitely been turned into one. Now, being a pretty big fan of Match-3 games, and with this new-found enjoyment of online gameplay, Stofle Designs Jewels with Buddies has wound up in my current rotation of games that I play every day. Battling it out against another player, trying to get the best combined score for 3 rounds of match-3 mayhem is a lot more fun than I thought it would be.
Once you register, or connect to your Facebook profile, you’re able to start games with friends from yoru contacts list, find a random buddy, have a rematch with someone you’ve already played, search for a username, or have a pass-n-play session with a friend on the same device.
As you play, you’ll earn coins. These are used to pick power-up animals who are able to help you out throughout your game, and also to take spins on the slots. Each animal has a different ability, and is charged up by making certain types of matches while you play. For instance, the Panda Bear eats a whole row of gems and is charged up when you make white matches, while the Elephant destroys half of the board, and is recharged by matching purple gems, and so on.
The scoring system is definitely a plus. With each match you make, you earn points, and if there’s a coin inside one of the gems, you’ll gain coins as well. But if you keep making matches quickly, the amount of points you’ll earn will keep rising. There are also multipliers randomly found on the gems which increase as time counts down. If you tap the gems with a multiplier before making a match with them, the multiplier will be applied to that match.
You’re given 3 rounds, each being 60 seconds long, to earn as many points as you can. After each round, your score is sent to the other player, and then you wait for them to play a round and send it back. I haven’t ever had this much fun with a match-3 MP game. Witch Wars and Matching With Friends both seemed way too unbalanced, and pushed towards IAP, and Syntax Match, while decent, is a little too difficult when it comes to quickly finding matches because of the tiles used. Don’t get me wrong, there are IAPs included in Jewels with Friends, and if you want the best animal power-ups every time you play, you’ll probably need to purchase some coins, but with the coins earned at a decent rate, and being able to choose some of the better animals every 3 or so games, even without purchasing IAPs, it’s very well balanced, and doesn’t feel like you’re constantly being pushed towards the IAPs, which is becoming more and more rare with free games.
So, if you’re looking for an online asynchronous match 3 title, you should definitely check out Jewels with Friends. Even though there’s no extra modes, and no single player gameplay, what is there is done very well, and priced at FREE, there’s really no reason not to give it a try. It’s definitely a title that’ll wind up staying on my device for quite some time.