PopCap's Facebook game Bejeweled Blitz is headed to Xbox Live in the next few months. The game, called Bejeweled Blitz Live, is largely similar to the Facebook version, the goal is to match three or more of the same colored gems as possible in 60 seconds, and see how your score stacks up against friends in an in-game leaderboard.
There is absolutely no connection between the Facebook game and this new version (the two games, say, don't share a leaderboard), sand there are a few other key differences -- including an epic-sounding 16-player Party mode, as in, 16 people can play the game at the same time over Xbox Live, competing for a top spot in an in-game leaderboard. You will also be able to go head-to-head against friends over Live or just play against other people in your own living room.
PopCap rolled by the Games.com HQ today and gave us a sneak peek at the Bejeweled Blitz Live. Unfortunately the 16-player Party mode was unavailable, so me and my esteemed colleague Laurent tried the two modes in the game that don't require an online connection -- two-player split screen mode. First, we tried the the Classic mode (which is just straight up Bejeweled Blitz) and then went head-to-head in the Twist mode, where you twist sets of gems clockwise/counterclockwise to make a match. If you played Bejeweled Twist on PC, this is pretty much the same thing, except you can twist gems both ways. (Laurent smoked me in the Classic mode, and I returned the favor in Twist.)
Like all Bejeweled games, Bejeweled Blitz Live has that same addictive quality, and once you finish a one-minute round (which ends all too quickly), it'll be hard to resist playing again and again until you beat your friends and see your name move to the top of the leaderboard.
Seasoned Bejeweled players, however, will have to get used to using an Xbox Live controller to match gems instead of a keyboard and mouse. To move gems, you use the left thumb stick to select a game and then use the four colored buttons on the controller to determine which way the gem will move (up, down, left, right). It feels a little strange at first, but after a while you'll get the hang of it -- though I don't think it will ever match the precision of the PC controls. That might be a turn-off for fans who play Bejeweled on PC, but then again, not sure how many typical Bejeweled players (female, casual gamer-types) will really be playing an Xbox version of their favorite game. This game is clearly marketed to the 'core' Xbox gamer (and maybe maybe moms / girlfriends / wives of Xbox gamers) more than anyone else.
Since this is an Xbox Live game, achievements will be built in (no details on what these are just yet) and, of course, playing will add to your overall Gamerscore. The price of Bejeweled Blitz is still TBD, but considering PopCap's other big Xbox Live game Plants vs. Zombies is available for 1200 Microsoft Points (roughly $15), I'd guess it'll be somewhere in the same ballpark.