Jewel Quest Returns 

As a fan of match-3 games I always look forward to the next title in the Jewel Quest series. This time the game covers locations such as the American West andEngland.

avanquest jewel quest 5 the sleepless star

Each time I come across a new title in the popular Jewel Quest series, I am convinced that the developers will not have been able to come up with some new features to enhance the basic jewel swapping concept.  Each time I have been proved wrong as new board designs, types of game play, bonuses and well-constructed storylines have been implemented into various titles.  The latest Jewel Quest offering to take up residence on my hard drive is Jewel Quest 5 The Sleepless Star.

Available as part of the Avanquest Click & Play portfolio, Jewel Quest 5 The Sleepless Star is the Collector’s Edition.  As well as the basic game, you get several additions, some of which require you to make progress in the main game before they are activated.  In order to access a Strategy Guide, wallpaper / screensaver and concept art you will need to complete the first two chapters of the game.  There is also a bonus chapter with 40 special jewel boards to keep you occupied once you have completed all the standard six chapters of this game.

Introducing another member of the Pack family in the form of the intrepid explorer, Percy Pack, this game is set in the early twentieth century and is based in the American West.  Arriving in Algonquin territory in search of thePhoenixjewel, which is known as the Sleepless Star by the Algonquin people, Percy is mistaken for a thief and is attacked by Pattawaser.  After a brief rough and tumble, Percy discovers that Pattawaser is a woman known as Yellow Feather and that the Sleepless Star has been stolen by men in military uniforms.  Percy and Yellow Feather then set off together to restore the Sleepless Star to its rightful Algonquin owners.

The story is told in comic book style strips which you can click through or skip if you wish.  However, as some effort has gone into the story with its appropriate sound effects and actual voices that change depending upon the current location, the story is worth flicking through.  Additional elements of the story appear alongside various puzzle boards as they are completed.

For those unfamiliar with the game play of Puzzle Boards, you need to complete groups of three or more similarly coloured jewels in order to turn the underlying portion of the board to a gold colour.  Various obstacles can be placed in your way while Aztec coins can be collected and used to help out when completing a board.

Each of the game’s chapters lays a trail which you must follow by completing a puzzle board at each stage.  As you progress along the predefined route you will unlock 16 artefacts that possess the means to help.  For example the first artefact will add 20 seconds every minute to your time allowance for the current stage.  Other artefacts bring different benefits but you have to decide which one will be active.

From time-to-time you will be offered the option to take a detour by playing three extra boards.  While the detour will not aid you in the task of restoring the Sleepless Star to its owners, it can boost your points total and should appeal to those with a competitive streak.

Along with the usual fare of Jewel Board game styles and specific tasks, the developers have come up with a number of new board types to support the classic offerings.  Included among these new types of boards are Climbing, Secret Entrance and Light Fire.

The Climbing board requires you to turn the lower section of the board gold before you can move on and do the same with the middle and top sections.  With Secret Entrance you are only shown a part of the board initially.  You need to reveal the rest of the board by creating groups around the edges of visible portion of the board.  I have not seen either of these two types of board types before.  However Light Fire is very similar to a board type used before with cages and monkeys, which do make an appearance, rather than the bowl and fire featured in this version.  While creating groups you also need to manipulate fire icons into bowls which then burn brightly.

With more than 200 Jewel Board puzzles, including the seventh bonus chapter, and well-drawn comic book strips with appropriate sound audio, Jewel Quest 5 The Sleepless Star certainly enhances this popular series.  However I did come across one minor complaint.  When accessing the Menu option during the game you are given the opportunity to Quit or select the Main Menu.  By selecting the Quit option the game would hang and require the intervention of the Task Manager to resolve the situation.  Selecting Main Menu and then using its Quit option brought about the expected shutdown.  This problem appeared on my 64-bit system but not on my 32-bit computer.

In line with its pricing policy, Avanquest has priced Jewel Quest 5 The Sleepless Star at £10.20.  The game requires a 1GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, 350MB of hard disk space and support for DirectX 9 running Windows XP and later.

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