Sometimes, maths can be a confusing thing (we never did understand long division) - but at other times, it's pretty simple. A basic description of Jewel Link may involve a lot of numbers, but it all adds up to one thing - a lot of fun in one small package. Bundling two (2) match three (3) games onto one (1) cartridge, all for one (1) low price, Jewel Link Double Pack: Atlantic Quest and Safari Quest is a bumper collection of match three goodness, with well over 200 levels to try your hand at - and hours of fun to be had.
While both of the games contained in this bundle saw a release on the DS, neither have yet been released on the 3DS individually, making this a kind of upgraded form of the two. With a basic 3D effect to show off on the top screen, there's not really all that much in the way of improvements to write home about - but what there is is a lot of solid, Jewel Link action.
Jewel Link Atlantic Quest, as you may have guessed from the name, is a match three game set down where it's wetter - under the sea. With an oil tanker having crashed and spread its load through the ocean, it's up to you to rescue any fish that have got caught up in the crash, and tidy things up in the only way you know how - by making matches of three identical tiles or more.
With over 120 levels to play through, the basic format here is familiar enough. Each grid contains a number of green squares, which have been polluted by oil - in order to clear them up, all you need to do is make a match on top of them. Later levels introduce further obstacles, like rocks (which block the flow of gems, and can only be cleared by making a match adjacent to them), or increasingly strangely shaped grids, making forming a match in the far corners a tricky challenge in its own right, but each stage follows a similar format. Meanwhile, on the top screen, you can find a number of fish who've seemingly managed to get themselves trapped in bubbles (how they've done this, we're not sure), but in order to finish each level, you'll need to free these too, along with clearing the green oil. How do you do that? By making yet more matches, of course! As each fish has a number of icons beneath it, every match you make, be it a jellyfish, some seaweed, a starfish or a sea snail, works towards breaking the fish out.
One of the more unusual features of this Jewel Link double pack - and one that works across both games - is that you can change the match three mode you're playing in at any time. While the default mode works as you expect it to - you can only switch adjacent tiles around in the hope of making a match - there are two other modes on offer too: chain, and group, which can be switched between on the fly. Chain lets you draw a link between three or more tiles of the same type in order to make a match, while group lets you eliminate blocks of tiles simply by tapping them - so long as there are three or more tiles touching. In that way, these two modes are fairly similar - only group involves less work.
In both Atlantic Quest and Safari Quest, you'll also have a number of helpers to call on, to give you a bit of a leg up as you go about your adventure. By getting a pearl (or in Safari Quest, a picture of that character's face) to the bottom of the grid, you'll unlock a special power up, which can be rather helpful when you're trying to make that last match and just can't get the pieces to fall into the right place. From a monkey with laser eyes who zaps a particular piece for you (no, really), to a crab that'll lob a stick of dynamite at your grid at the touch of a button, there's a pretty wide array of helpful (if bizarre!) characters who can get you back on track.
With over 200 levels between the two games, the Jewel Link Double Pack certainly packs plenty to keep you busy. One of those perfect/terrible games for playing in bed, Jewel Link has that "one more go" appeal in spades, and a quick five minute session can soon have you playing red eyed into the early hours of the morning. With no time limits and no pressure, it's a game you can take your time to enjoy - and one you'll spend plenty of time enjoying.