The way the game is structured is that you select the stages that you want to play, and as you play you unlock more stages. Completing games gives you money, and you use that money to help the nobility that you are trying to sway your way.
As you help them, you can see their little state grow, getting towers and gardens added. These beautiful renders are not just to show progression; since the game comes with a screensaver mode you can delight your eyes by setting these medieval grounds as your desktop background.
Before you even begin, you should know that there are different modes and difficulty settings for this game. Firstly, there’s the classic normal, easy and hard, these change things like how often power ups appear and the order in which the tiles appear.
The different modes, however, are the real game changer. One of them is called “Relaxed”, where you don’t really need to worry too much about the game beyond matching the tiles. Then there’s “Timed”, where a very non lenient timer is rushing you towards your goals. And finally, “Limited moves”. This one is more strategic and less frantic than “Timed” mode, since you have to plan your moves carefully but you are free to take it at your pace as you do so.
These settings come mainly into play when talking about the different unlockables in the game, but more on them later.
Your real goal in each stage is not simply to make points, but to clear the designated golden tiles displaced at random on the stage. Make a match on these tiles to make them disappear, and after clearing all of them the level is considered cleared, and you can move on.
Stages are divided into parts, almost like two stages into one, and you are free to complete them in whichever order you want. There are plenty of power ups and traps to find, like in many other Match 3 games, but the real twist here is the levels hidden within the level itself.
Once you clear all the golden tiles, the game will tell you that now you can move on, or continue and explore the garden.
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The garden is a bonus stage that gives a few more points, but its true purpose is unlocking yet another bonus stage, by collecting stars. Stars are a big part of completing everything in a stage, so they are valuable in their own right. Gather enough, and the path to the gems level is opened.
The gems level is the final room of this rabbit hole, but it doesn’t award points; it gives gems. And what do you use gems for? To unlock the mahjong bonus games, obviously. The mini games are not found within levels but on their own tab, and the most expensive ones aren’t mahjong at all, but finding the difference-style games. As you can see, there is plenty to unlock indeed.
The story and art style of the game are very classical in nature, and for good measure. The fictional kingdom in which the story takes place is very Victorian-esque, therefore the music and fashion that accompany it sure do follow.
While the characters aren’t animated, they are beautifully rendered in three dimensions. Even the items that you match follow this trend; they aren’t fruits or balloons, but silk gloves and top hats.
The game’s different tracks are reminiscent of the soothing music one might hear in the background in a ball. In short, the art direction does a very good job of setting the scene for the game.
Jewel Match Royale 2 is a game with a deceptive depth for those willing to search for it, but it has more than enough casual gameplay for people just looking for a quick dose of Match 3 goodness and a little bit of Victorian drama.
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