Daily iPhone App: Cruel Jewels is pure match-3 bliss

As anyone who regularly reads these Daily App posts probably knows, I am a grade A sucker for the match-3 genre. From Bejeweled to Puzzle Quest to Call of Atlantis, if it lets you match three of a kind, I'm in. So Cruel Jewels won me over from the first screenshot. It's a pure match-3 title, featuring gems of various colors that need to be matched up in at least three of a kind to be cleared off the board and score points.

But even beyond its genre, Cruel Jewels is well done. The graphics are clear and crisp, and the whole title has a retro, almost steampunk vibe that works really well. The game is essentially endless, but at least in the game's basic mode, you play through a series of stages with various objectives, from scoring a certain amount within a time limit, to fighting a foe (whose hand eerily comes on screen during its matching turn), to just a pure score attack. There are also modes for each of those objectives directly, so there's lots here to play.

If you're absolutely fed up with match-3 titles, this one is not for you. But as an example of the match-3 genre, Cruel Jewels is very well constructed. It doesn't add anything super new, but it's smoothly polished, and completely free to check out. There are ads in game that are only slightly distracting, but you can remove them for an in-app purchase of US$1.99 if you like.