Have You Played... Bejeweled 3?
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
PopCap got a lot of puzzle games right first time. Bejeweled [official site] took them three full goes, but by Bejeweled 3 by gosh they got it right.
The original Bejewled has been downloaded so many times that making up exaggerated numbers for it has become impossible. If I said 73 trillion times, people would probably nod. And yet, of the match-3 genre, while certainly one of the earliest, it's far from the best. The best, as everyone knows, is Zoo Keeper DS. Bejeweled 3 finally caught up, and made the vital switch - it made it possible to start lining up your following match before the cascading madness of disappearing tiles had finished from the last.
It makes all the difference.
The poor license has been squeezed dry by EA since, mangled into free-to-play attempts to surf the wave of the game that so closely followed it, Candy Crush Saga. Apparently Bejeweled Stars is where it's at now. But Bejeweled 3 remains the finest entry in the puzzler series that got the whole business started. Still, it's no Zoo Keeper.