Jewel Master: Egypt

 
(i)

 

Habit-forming match-three jewel-swapper with history theme.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game is about solving puzzles and developing an empire using food, materials, and gold to build farms, settlements, landmarks, and other elements of ancient Egypt's culture and civilization.

Positive role models

The player assumes the role of a nameless guiding force whose chief concern is to build a civilization. There are no interactions with other characters.

Ease of play

Very simple jewel swapping mechanics employ the DS’ stylus and touch screen. New features are introduced gradually and with ample instructions.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Jewel Master: Egypt is a simple jewel-swapping puzzle game, and that it has absolutely nothing in the way of violence, sexuality, or bad language. Players simply match jewels in lines of three or more on a puzzle board, earning resources with which they can purchase vital elements of ancient Egyptian civilization. In fact, they might even learn the basics about the cultural and technological advancements that were integral to Egypt’s rise to historical prestige.

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What's it about?

A spiritual successor to last year’s entertaining match-three DS puzzler Cradle of Rome, JEWEL MASTER: EGYPT is a straightforward jewel-swapping puzzle game that has players using the stylus to change the positions of adjacent jewels on a large grid with an aim to make rows of three or more of the same type, causing them to disappear. The shtick in this particular game is that each jewel represents a resource necessary to help build up ancient Egyptian civilization. After each puzzle you’re able to spend resources earned on one of several fundamental cultural advancements -- farms, camels, villages, pyramids -- in various Egyptian dynasties. You’re also provided a brief explanation as to why these advancements were important in the development of Egyptian civilization.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Jewel Master: Egypt is a cut above most match-three jewel-swapping puzzle games, and not just because it provides a (very) basic education on ancient Egyptian culture and civilization. It keeps the action interesting by slowly introducing a wide variety of new game elements and goals. At first all we need do is clear tiles marked in blue, but as the game goes on it becomes more complicated. Some tiles locked in chains act as obstacles for tiles falling from above until cleared and other tiles needing to be cleared twice. Plus, the jewels you clear have various values and properties, making some more valuable than others at different times. You may need to clear more food-type jewels in order to earn enough food to purchase your next civilization upgrade, or clear jewels of an exact type in order to earn power-ups that let you do things like choose a single pesky tile to eliminate or clear all jewels of a given kind. If you have an affinity for match-three games but often find yourself tiring of them midway through, Jewel Master: Egypt might be just what the doctor ordered.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about puzzle games. Games like Jewel Master: Egypt are popular with all ages, from tweens through to grandparents (and even great-grandparents). What is it about them that gives them nearly universal appeal? Do you get the same satisfaction from a simple puzzler as you do from a more complex game with a story and deeper play mechanics?

  • Families can also discuss the educational value of the game’s tidbits of historical information. Were they too few and brief to be of any real value? If they were longer would it have caused you to lose interest? Did these quick factoids make you more curious about Egypt and ancient cultures in general?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
Price:$19.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Storm City Games
Release date:November 4, 2009
Genre:Puzzle
ESRB rating:E for (No Descriptors) (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi)

This review of Jewel Master: Egypt was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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