Bejeweled made its debut on computer browsers in 2001, and it's been a mainstay of the gaming world ever since. Developed by PopCap Games, the series has been downloaded more than 150 million times, with another 25 million copies sold. It's available on more than 15 different platforms, from the Xbox 360 to the Palm OS, and sequels include Bejeweled 2, Bejeweled 3, Bejeweled Twist, and Bejeweled Blitz.
The object of the game is to match jewels of the same color, which gains points and allows new jewels to take their place. Matching four or more crystals creates an exploding power gem, while five gems of the same color result in a hyper cube that destroys all crystals of the same color.
Given the success of the game, PopCap has tried to license it as much as possible. This has led to several Bejeweled slots being created, with the majority of them designed by Blueprint Gaming. These titles are the subject of the article you're currently reading.
The first game from Blueprint that we'll be looking at is Bejeweled Cascades. It's a 5-reel, 25-payline slot that offers players a noticeably different experience. For example, there are no spinning reels in this game. Instead, the colorful gem icons drop from the top of the screen each time the start button is pressed.
Another major departure is the cascading gems concept. I've already mentioned that the symbols fall from the top of the screen, but that's just the start. Whenever you're lucky enough to get a winning combination, that payline disappears and allows more symbols to fall into play. Thanks to this feature, a single "spin" can result in multiple wins for the customer.
All paylines are fixed, which means each payline is active during the cascade of symbols. I prefer this configuration, as there's nothing worse than leaving off a few lines and missing out on a solid payday.
Based on the long-term payback, this slot has a theoretical return of 96.11%. While this percentage is decent, you'll get better odds by playing online blackjack or video poker.
If you're wondering about the value of the game's symbols, this section explains the various payout options. Please remember that all wins across the various paylines are added together to form the total win, although only the highest win on each line is paid. Also, line wins are multiplied by the wager to determine the player's total.
- Multi-colored Cube
This bizarre icon offers the biggest payouts of the game. Getting three matches pays 50, four matches pay 125, and five matches pay 1,250.
- Orange Gem
Pays 15 for three matches, 50 for four, and 250 for five.
- White Gem
Looking like a massive round diamond, this symbol pays 20 for three matches, 75 for four, and 375 for five.
- Red Gem
This fiery symbol pays 25 for three, 100 for four, and 500 for five.
- Purple Gem
This triangular gem pays 5 for three, 10 for four, and 50 for five.
- Yellow Gem
Pays 5 for three, 15 for four, and 100 for five.
- Blue Gem – Pays 10 for three, 20 for four, and 150 for five.
- Green Gem
Pays 10 for three, 25 for four, and 200 for five.
This golden badge with a star in the middle is you key to unlocking the Quest Bonus round. In order to do so, you'll need to get this symbol on reels one, two, and three (at the same time).
This multi-colored icon appears on reels two through five and substitutes for all other symbols except the Quest icon.
If you manage to get the Quest symbol on the first three reels, you'll be eligible to start the Quest Bonus. You'll be presented with three badges that are obscured by question marks. A different quest is hidden behind each, and you'll be asked to choose one. Once your selection has been made, the badge reveals which quest you'l be sent on. These include the following:
- Butterfly Cascades
The player wins an additional 10 cascades (or "spins"), and each has a connected win multiplier that keeps increasing.
- Buried Treasure
This is easily the most involved of the three Quest Bonus options. The screen is filled with small gems, and the player is asked to match three to five gems horizontally or vertically in order to obtain a cash prize. If gems are involved in a win, they explode to create room for additional gems to appear on the screen. There's also the opportunity to uncover buried treasure for a mystery bonus, and all the excitement continues until no more winning combinations are produced.
- Instant Win Bonuses
Actually, there's not much of a quest for this one. Instead, you just get a specific sum of money. While it's not as exciting, who in their right mind would pass up free cash?
No matter what slot machine you choose, you'll always notice a number of options above and below the main screen. This section provides a brief rundown of the available controls, as well as how they function during gameplay.
This pink button can be clicked to learn about paylines, the pay table, and the various bonus rounds. I've covered all the information in previous sections, however, so there's nothing new to be learned.
- Total Bet
This is the amount you'll be wagering on the next cascade. Options include 0.25, 0.50, 0.75, 1.00, 1.25, 2.50, 5.00, 12.50, 25.00, 50.00, 125.00, and 250.00.
- Cascade Win
If you get a winning combination, the amount of your payout is display in this field.
This green button can be clicked to cause another cascade of icons. Since the reels don't actually spin, it's been given a different title.
If you're tired of pressing the start button, you can choose this option to cause a number of cascades to occur automatically. Your options include 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or until the Quest Bonus round is activated.
Located near the top of the screen, this button allows you to control elements such as sound, picture quality, and the speed of the game.
Bejeweled 2 Slots
This is another slot machine from Blueprint, and it's also based on the popular puzzle franchise from PopCap Games. It has five reels and 20 paylines, and the overall look and feel is similar to an IGT release known as Gems. With bizarre music and a barren alien landscape in the background, this game creates an atmosphere that's both mysterious and exciting.
Unlike Bejeweled Cascades, each payline of this game can be activated individually. The bet per line ranges from 0.01 to 25.00, which means you can play all lines for as little as 0.20 or as much as 500. Due to this substantial range, Bejeweled 2 is a fine choice for high rollers and casual players alike.
The theme of the game is gems, and you'll find plenty of them on the reels. These include red, blue, green, orange, yellow, purple, and diamond-colored crystals, as well as playing card symbols ranging from ace to nine.
The wild symbol substitutes for all icons except the scatter and bonus. It also carries a multiplier, instantly doubling the value of any winning spin it's associated with.
Two of the most interesting symbols in the game include the power gems and the hyper cube. The former destroys nearby crystals and allows for additional wins, while at the same time doubling the payout. The latter destroys gems of the same color, while also awarding the player with a mystery cash payout.
There's also a scatter symbol that activates some of the game's bonus features. These extra game levels are detailed in the following section.
The following bonus rounds and special payouts are available in Bejeweled 2:
- Bejeweled Scatter Bonus
During this phase of the game, gems fall onto the screen and explode if they're part of a winning combination. This cascade effect continues until there are no more possible wins.
- Wheel of Riches
When three or more scatter symbols turn up, this colorful wheel appears and begins to spin. The result is always a multiplier, and it's added to your winnings. If you're lucky, you'll get the highest possible multiplier of 500x.
- Free Spins Bonus
If three or more Free Spin scatters turn up on the reels, you'll receive a number of complimentary spins. Three symbols result in 15 spins, while four earns you 25. The biggest requires five symbols, and you'll get to celebrate your achievement with an impressive 50 spins. A mystery multiplier is added to your winnings at the end of the round, and you can also re-trigger the entire process while using your free spins.
If you're a fan of the original puzzle games, then you should naturally be drawn to the Bejeweled slots from Blueprint Gaming. These innovative titles are ideal for high and low rollers alike, and the multiple bonus rounds can result in loads of free spins and/or respectable jackpots.