If you want a Bejeweled clone on the Switch, here’s one. It’s a very simple match 3 game. There’s an endless mode or you can play levels where you have to match a certain number of each gem type or you can play for one minute and see how high you can score. That’s more or less all it does. It’s a decent game if you’re looking for some casual play. But can you play it if you’re visually impaired?
I’m reviewing the Switch version of this game. The game is also available on Android, Google, Apple, PlayStation, and Xbox.
About me and my play style: I have albinism. My visual acuity fluctuates between 20/100 and 20/500 depending on if I’m wearing contacts and how tired I am. I have color vision, but no depth perception. I also deal with eye strain if I have to focus too precisely for too long. I primarily play in handheld mode so I can hold the screen closer. I tend to play on my long commute with no sound because I need to keep my ears free to listen for my stop to be announced.
Visual Characteristics 6/10
(Contrast, Lighting, Tracking, Clutter)
The colors are bright and the shapes of the jewels are pretty distinctive. Colorblind players note that the jewels are all different shapes corresponding to the color of the jewel. The lighting is fine. Tracking isn’t really an issue because you have to move things for them to move. Clutter also isn’t too much of an issue. The background is subtle and simple. It doesn’t distract me at all from the main play.
The only thing is, and this is a big thing, is that this is a port of mobile game and they didn’t bother to widen it for the Switch’s screen. There is a little menu that shows you the remaining number of jewels you need to clear and this menu is placed above the main play area. That means that the play area is shrunk down. The menu could have been placed off to the side to suit the Switch’s aspect ratio. Or they could have turned it so the Switch was sideways. But as it is, you’re stuck with the same width as your phone except it’s on the Switch, so there’s a bunch of dead space on either side.
There’s a little bar that shrinks as your time is used up. I appreciate that they didn’t make you try to read a little clock. The little line could be bolder. However, it’s kind of obvious when you run out of time so if you can keep playing, you can assume the bar hasn’t run out. If you play with a lot of strategy, though, you might care.
Accessibility Features 5/10
I’m going to be a bit generous here and call the different shapes of the jewels an accessibility feature. They’ve got nice texture on them that differentiate things. I’m also giving points because the screen doesn’t move, so you can use the built-in zoom function on the Switch. You can’t have it zoomed in very far at all, but you can use it a little. And you can have it zoomed in more in endless mode because you don’t need to see the menu that tells you how many more matches you need to make for that level. So that’s sorta an accessibility feature… sorta.
Assist Modes 3/10
I’m giving a few points for having an endless mode and having a pretty lenient clock. It’s not an assist mode, but it’s something. The original Bejeweled had a little hint feature that would highlight a move for you, though it was really difficult to see if you were visually impaired. This one doesn’t appear to. But it might. I haven’t noticed any sort of visual hints. So either they’re too subtle to see or they aren’t there.
Non Visual Cues 0/10
This is an entirely visual game. But I’ll say the music is much more chill than Bejeweled, so that’s nice.
Decent Fonts 5/10
They could be worse. They could also be better. The font is fine, but the size isn’t great. The little numbers that tell you how many more matches you need to make are pretty darn small, but there’s a workaround for that.
Necessity of Text 8/10
(The higher the rating, the less necessary the text is)
The redeeming quality about the stupid tiny numbers is that the menu that tells you how many more matches you need to make grays out the jewels that you’ve completed all the required matches for. So you really don’t need to see the numbers. You just know that you need to keep clearing that jewel until it grays out.
I’m docking a point for the main menu being smaller than necessary. However, you can use the zoom function on that so it’s not game-breaking.
Handheld Play 7/10
Handheld is definitely the way you want to go here because you need a touch screen so that you don’t start hating everything about everything. Don’t play this in docked mode. Just don’t. You won’t be able to see which jewel is selected and you’ll just be a sad person. I’m docking points because… again… expand the aspect ratio and stick the menu on the side… where all the free space is…
Level of Precision Required 8/10
This game is pretty forgiving. You can try as many times as you need to get a move done. I haven’t noticed that failed moves reduce your time, but they may. I’m docking points because they could have expanded the screen and made the jewels bigger, and therefore easier.
Controls and Depth Perception 10/10
No complaints with the controls. As long as you’re in handheld mode. It’s a standard touch-screen game.
Recommendation for visual skills needed for enjoyment
I’m going to guess that you could enjoy this if you’ve got 20/800 with the zoom function turned on. Probably 20/600 or so without it. I’d recommend endless mode to make things the most fun and accessible. As always, your mileage will vary.
Overall, I recommend this game if you really, really want a Bejeweled clone on your Switch. As a game, it’s not as fun as Bejeweled because Bejeweled gives you more cool combos. This game doesn’t give you anything special for matching four or five jewels together. And it doesn’t give you any awesome sound effects or explosions for combos. But the music is way better. If you don’t want a Bejeweled clone, don’t get this game. There’s nothing new or exciting here. It’s a really lazy port of a mobile game. But I did really want a Bejeweled clone, so I enjoyed it.
If you want to know why finding a Bejeweled clone was so important to me, please check out my Why I Play post.