Welcome Time Wasters!
This week I’ve decided to head to Facebook to feed my Time Waster addiction. Seeing that some of my friends and family were playing a game called Jelly Splash, I figured I’d join in.
Jelly Splash is a puzzle game that’s all about matching up three or more jellies to destroy them and move to the next level. I don’t often play match-three games like this, and there’s a good reason: I get addicted. Chuzzle, Bejewled and all the other games of that variety are a kryptonite to me. Sure, they’re good ways to waste time, but I have a hard time pulling myself away to do anything else.
Luckily for me, I don’t have that problem with Jelly Splash. Being a Facebook/app game, Jelly Splash only allows players a certain numbers of lives before they run out and can’t do anymore levels. To regain lives, players can either ask friends for help, use real money to buy in-game currency to buy lives with or wait for their lives to return over time. I absolutely hate it when Facebook notifications from people asking for help in games pop up, so I’m not about to put anyone else through that (except when moving to new areas, because that can only be done by asking friends or spending money). Also, I’m cheap, and I’m not about to spend my hard earned money on a series of microtransactions. As a result, I’m done playing when the game says I’m done.
Normally, microtransactions are the kind of things I hate, but with Time Wasters it doesn’t bother me near as much. Sure the whole concept annoys me, but these reviews are supposed to be about games that can be played in short burst; like in between classes or on a lunch break.
Let’s get back to Jelly Splash’s gameplay. Players only have a certain number of moves to complete a level in the game. After these moves are exhausted, the player loses the level and a life. Extra moves can be bought, but that goes back to the whole microtransactions deal. Levels have a variety of difficulty and as to be expected, the later levels are harder than earlier ones. Each level has a certain objective for it to be beat. Some require the player to reach a certain score, while others have the player removing gray blocks from the level to win.
Different from other match-three games is how jellies can be matched up. Instead of the typical ‘move a jelly here to line it up deal,’ players drag their mouse pointers over connected jellies to select which ones to destroy. It’s a unique system that adds an extra layer of strategy that the typical match-three game doesn’t have.
The visuals in Jelly Splash are nice. The world map is very colorful and vibrant and so are the levels. The game is a little overly cutesy at times and it claims that matching up jellies saves the little critters, but I think we all know that we’re actually sending them to their doom.
Following the visuals’ example, the audio in Jelly Splash is also very upbeat and colorful feeling. Yes, color is a valid way to describe music. If that doesn’t work for you, then just think of it as really happy-go-lucky.
At the end of the day, I found myself to be a fan of Jelly Splash. The gameplay was different enough that it didn’t feel like every other match-three game and its limitations actually worked to help me keep productive (I know, a guy whose job title is ‘Time Waster’ is complaining that a game drops his productivity, first world problems at their finest). I also really enjoyed the game’s overly joyful appearance and audio.
Jelly Splash earns 4.5 GIN Gems from this reviewer. Now excuse me as I check to see if any of my lives have come back.