I have this bad habit of volunteering my reviewing services simply because a developer is asking for people to take a look at his game. As a result, I often don’t necessarily know what I’m getting myself into beforehand. As it turns out, what I’ve gotten myself into with Jewels Maker is a fun, frustrating and addictive game all rolled up into one. It’s games like this that make me glad I tend to be impulsive and greedy when it comes to picking up games for review.
The premise behind the game is simple. You control a ball that collects jewels, and your job is to collect all the jewels of a certain color on a given level while avoiding all the jewels of the other color. As you collect jewels your ball grows bigger, and as your ball gets bigger you’re able to collect bigger jewels. If a jewel of the wrong color suddenly becomes small enough for you to collect it will change colors so you can grab it. The goal is to collect enough jewels to grow your ball by 10 levels. Once you’ve done that you’ll get 5 seconds to collect as many jewels as you can for extra points (they’ll all be the right color at this point), and then you move on to the next level.
Unfortunately there are only 15 levels, because I think I’ll be sad once I’ve beaten them all. Of course, the developer has made sure that task isn’t so easy once you get into the hard set. The problem is that the difficulty doesn’t really come from the levels themselves, but rather the control. All you have to do is tilt the device to move the ball. There’s no option to calibrate, however, and sometimes it seems like it takes an awful lot of effort to get the ball to switch directions. There’s a speed option, but make it too fast and the motion of the ball is jerky, and making it too slow pretty well guarantees you won’t be making many necessary quick turns. And to top it off screen rotation isn’t an option. Screen rotation happens automatically and usually at the worst time. The controls really need to be tweaked a bit.
The levels really don’t get interesting until half way through the game, and even then the most complicated seems to be four squares connected by walkways with skimpy borders around the edges to encourage you to fall and an occasional hole in the middle of a square. Variety is key here. It would also be nice if the game did something different like maybe switch up the “good’ color every now and again within the same level. That would certainly throw the player for a loop. Despite all these critiques I definitely think there’s something going on here. I’d just like to see the developer take the game from being fun and strangely addictive yet average to something that can really stand out from the crowd.
While not at the level of games like Hydro Tilt or Aerox, the graphics in Jewels Maker are decent. The colors and patterns can be a bit garish, but nothing is overwhelming. The ball looks like a big marble, which is actually kind of cool, and the jewels look decent. The sparkle when you hit a jewel is a nice little touch. The sound effects are workable as well. Where the aesthetics stick out, however, is in the music department. There are three tunes: one for the menu, one for the main game play, and one for the bonus time. I don’t know if they were composed specifically for this game or if they were chosen from a site of the internet or what, but however you look at it the music is great and in an odd way really suits the game.
I’ve played better ball rolling games, but I’ve certainly played much worse. The truth is that amidst the game’s brevity and issues it has a certain charm that can’t be denied. I really hope the developer continues to enhance Jewels Maker, though, because I do believe that given the right amount of love and care it could become one of the top tier ball rolling games.