There are so many puzzle games featuring the 'match three or more of the same colour' gameplay idea that it can be hard for the average gamer to decide what to buy and what to avoid like the plague. Over the years there have been some fantastic examples, such as City Interactive's Jewels of the Ages, and some extremely mediocre efforts, like Jewel Time Deluxe from O-Games, but now Avanquest UK has attempted to squeeze into the market with Jewel Link: Galactic Quest.
Welcome to the year 3495! Captain Smith of the Starship Victory is on an intergalactic voyage and in order to save the surrounding planets from destruction from the wreckage left behind following a gigantic star that went into supernova status it is a simple case of switching a few coloured blocks around. Easy, right? Well, when the fate of the galaxy's citizens is at risk, no task is too tough for those with enough gumption…obviously. Actually, there is a little more firepower than that, since the earlier levels start to introduce special weapons that can be accessed using the D-pad after removing enough obstacles in the traditional manner to allow coloured globes to reach the lowest section of the playing field. Cause massive explosions to remove everything within a certain radius, wipe all of the same colours out in one go, and so on - every little helps considerably when trying to clear as much from the current grid as possible.
Match three or more of the same colour in three different ways: swap adjacent tiles horizontally or vertically, draw lines to connect blocks, or simply tap on groups of three or more same colours already joined together in groups. These three modes can all be used at will during each of the 100+ rounds set across twelve galactic locations, and the differing styles help when faced with awkward map shapes that mean the usual switching panels option does not work best. Helping to break up the constant Match-3 madness are some mini-games, such as recreating images by moving panels around, which prove to be a pleasant aside and prevents the matching from growing too boring. The added blockades thrown into play also lead to tactics needing to be employed to complete stages in the most efficient manner. Whilst not the most aesthetically pleasing DS title, Jewel Link: Galactic Quest is actually better than expected, going to show that the old adage about looks is true…
Whilst perhaps not worth the full £19.99 asking price, the fact that Jewel Link: Galactic Quest can be found for much lower in most places means that this suddenly transforms into a rather good prospect for fans of the Match-3 puzzle genre.