Soft & Easy haven't beat about the bush with a title for this one - can you possibly guess what Falling Jewels is all about? There is the tenuous possibility that the falling jewels in question are a subtle reference to males reaching puberty, but no - this here's an arcade-puzzler very much along the lines of Tengen's Klax, only less flexible and playable. That's Falling Jewels in a nutshell for those in the know.
The falling jewels in Falling Jewels do their stuff into a 'pit'. A dinky little grabbing device like the ones in thos stinky machines you see in arcades on piers or seafronts moves along the top of the screen, picks up a jewel from a 'store' in the top left-hand corner of the screen, drags it across to the pit and drops the jewel. And yes - it falls, whereupon the player guides it left or right (in the pit) until the jewel hits solid ground, either the bottom of the pit or a fallen jewel. When three or more jewels of the same colour form a line horizontally, vertically or diagonally, they disappear, leaving gravity to take its course on any jewels above.
So far, so Tetris, but surely there's more to it than that? Well, indeed there is, but not much. There are 48 levels to Falling Jewels, with a slightly different task to complete on each. On the first level, two vertical columns of three or more jewels have to be created to win, whereas Level 47 requires eight diagonal rows of six or more jewels to be formed. And there's more: when a level is completed, the program simulates the rolling of a die. If the number 'rolled' is higher than three, the pit is cleared of jewels. Otherwise, the mess remains to be faced on the next level. There are special 'Clear Up The Mess' levels to complete, too, where the mess is already provided for the player to clear up in the usual fashion.
Now all this would be easy peasy were it not for the fact that there's a limited supply of jewels to play with - in fact, there's no room for error at all. There simply isn't a suitable balance of colours to compensate for any mistakes, which leaves Falling Jewels about as enticing as Michelle Fowler's boat, and that's a fact [Steady on, Gaz! - Ed] And yet, as we are all acutely aware but may not wish to admit, beneath that sad exterior there lies an inner beauty capable of stirring the very heart and soul of all who view it. Suffice it to say, Falling Jewels is far more playable than it looks.
You'd probably rather be seen dead in a Mr. Buyrite suit than playing this. But have a heart - get past the lousy exterior and you'd be well advised to take a tumble with Falling Jewels.