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Free Online Game Review: MSN Bejeweled

To play this game on MSN, click here.

A study came out recently that found that a significant percentage of seniors use online games games before they go to bed. It wouldn’t surprise me if Bejeweled and other wonderful online games like it, are the cause. It is so good, rumor has it that the maker of the game may go public because of it.

One of the most popular games out there, Bejeweled is a simple online game for seniors with both free and paid versions easily accessed on the MSN online game page. Bejeweled has it all: Good looks, excitement, challenge, warms up your brain, and makes you feel good when you get to the next level. Easy to understand what to do, but constantly keeping you on your toes.

Even though most of us don’t like to do so – there are of course exceptions, I highly recommend reading the instructions and taking a few practice rounds to get the hang of this game before getting serious. The simple, untimed levels are best for practice and pretty easy to understand. Two clicks of the mouse swaps a gem of one color for for a gem of another color to make three in a row. You can’t make a swap unless it results in 3 in a row of one of the colors swapped. If the “swap” doesn’t result in three in a row of the same color, you get a helpful message letting you know you have made an “illegal move.” Almost as a punishment, you have to click a box that says “play” to remove it to get a second chance. After experiencing the “illegal move” reminder a few times, I found I didn’t swap unless three in a row resulted. The game was teaching me how to play more efficiently. There are help and hint buttons to help you until get the hang of it. At first you may find it difficult to find the swaps, but that’s where the “hint” button comes into play. It flashes one of the swap choices for you to figure out the other. As a matter of fact, for those of us who either don’t like to ask for a hint or just don’t know how, it flashes after a while even if you don’t push the hint button. (It’s pretty easy to find the second gem once you have the first.) Do this enough and it will train you to recognize the opportunities for swaps so you can play without the hints.

Once you have the basics down, you are ready for the timed round where you may break a sweat trying to find and click the appropriate gems as time keeps getting shorter and the pressure mounts. The game has several levels to keep you challenged, and the ability to upgrade or download (for a modest price) gives extra bonus levels, new gems and other perks – for a very modest price.

The game is certainly Easy to See because of the attractive, colorful gems, spaced playing board, and different shapes used. However, while it may be easy to see, it requires the ability to scan the board to find patterns and then take an action. While I found it difficult at first, a little practice and training had me “seeing” the swaps much more quickly than before. Once “seen,” the two clicks of the mouse to make the swap was very easy. I consider something easy to use and understandif it is intuitive with no instruction, or when it can be learned in a relatively short amount of time through clear and simple instructions with hands on practice exercises designed to teach you the basics of how to use it. MSN’s version gets high marks in this area, especially given the wonderful help and hint buttons which are easy to find and execute and even “real-time.”

The instructions and tutorials are clear and simple. One may have to increase the font to a comfortable level to see them better, but they are done and take into account different learning styles. The player must have hand eye coordination and know how to use, point and click the mouse are prerequisites to game play. I found the game to be easy to hear because it has clear sounds that enhance the game by giving helpful auditory feedback for actions taken.

I believe the game is easy to understand. The goals and steps to reach them are clear. However, the game is challenging and makes you think, recognize patterns, and take an action. While its easy to understand what to do, it will give you hours of fun trying to figure out all the different permutations they throw at you. Just what I like in an online game, especially a free one.

And perhaps most important of all, the game is Fun and Cool! One of the hottest games out there, and conquering its highest levels will not only give you bragging rights, and make you the game guru with your friends and family, but conquering its levels – whatever level you are at – will make you feel entertained and good about yourself to boot.

You can access and play this free online game on the MSN website by clicking here.

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