That’s my high score this week in Bejeweled Blitz, the speedy social match-3 game from PopCap. That’s a pretty hot high score, and so I published the Star Medal notification to alert my Facebook friends of this puzzle gaming success…
Herein lies my qualm: If players are regularly scoring upwards of 300,000 in the game, wouldn’t it make since for the Star Medals in Bejeweled Blitz to go high enough to accomodate even its most skilled fans? There are several increments: 50k, 75k, 100k, 125k, 150k, 175k, 200k, 225k and the top Star Medal shows 250k. Even if you score 450,000 you can only get a 250k medal with your full score in tiny text below.
What’s up with that?
Earlier this fall, PopCap gave the game an overhaul with several changes to the Facebook phenom: a new, more intimidating intro countdown, new gameplay and bonus mechanics/animations, revised audio and graphical updates all around. Key point here is that the gameplay and bonus updates, although fairly small, enabled players to maneuver gems more quickly, and thus earn more points and snag higher scores than ever before.
Off-hand, I’d say average high weekly scores in Bejeweled Blitz used to be in the 200,000 to low 300,000 range, but since PopCap released the new version, high scores, on my leaderboard, are consistently upwards of 400,000 – I’m pretty sure some of my most impressive friends have even broken 500,000, but I can’t swear by it (not this week anyway).
Bejeweled Blitz is honestly one of my favorite games, period. The match-three genre is also one of the most widely popular in casual gaming, and Blitz puts a fast, friendly spin on things. It speeds up the gameplay and shrinks sessions into quick 1-minute chunks, perfect for busy social networkers. Since the game is on the Facebook platform, your leaderboards only feature folks you already know – your Facebook friends. For most people, that’s a crowd of ~500 potential competitors.
Not that Blitz is alone here, this is the norm in social gaming – heck, it’s what makes a game social. Still, the Bejeweled Blitz leaderboards are a bit different, in that scores reset weekly (on Tuesday) – so everyone starts tabula rasa and has to score big again to stay on top. The reset is huge for replayability, and ensures fresh competition every week.
All you need is Blitz
All that, and PopCap recently put Bejeweled Blitz on the iPhone, as a free update to the hugely successful Bejeweled 2 app ($2.99 on the App Store). You can play on your iPhone (or iPod Touch), and your high scores and leaderboards are automatically synced with Facebook. iPhone players can post Facebook notifications from their iPhone just like the Web.