Puzzle games are almost a dime a dozen these days. Sometimes it can feel like a puzzle game just trying to find a good one in the App Store. So with every new release of a game in the genre, you always hope that you've stumbled onto a treasure that will keep you occupied for hours. Is Jewel Thieves: Knight's Armor that game? Or is this treasure trove destined for the dump?

Upon startup, the first thing you might notice is that there are only three game modes: Adventure, Lightning, and Zen. All three modes task you with the simple goal of tapping three or more jewels within close proximity to each other, thereby collecting them and removing them from the board. Once they're gone, you'll be awarded with points. But if they reach the top, then it's game over. Luckily, the three modes exist to facilitate players of all different skill levels.

Adventure Mode is where you'll beat stage after stage across the three available worlds in the title, with a fourth one promised in the future. I actually don't understand why they call it Adventure Mode, because there's nothing adventurous about it. You won't be faced with some overarching story or campaign, but I guess calling it "Regular Mode" would have sounded dull.

In Lightning Mode, your skills are put to the test as jewels drop rapidly from the sky and a countdown clock reminds you that you have to get the highest score possible. You might find yourself running into trouble during some of the later Lightning Mode stages, but you could always buy your way to victory thanks to the shop.

Now, I absolutely hate in-app purchases, but the ones in Jewel Thieves' store don't seem like they're all that necessary. The only thing that rubs me the wrong way is the fact that you need keys to play the different game modes. You start out with a set amount of keys, which regenerate after a given period of time, but this puts a damper on anyone who just wants to keep playing ad nauseam.

The final mode is Zen Mode, in which you can just endlessly match up jewels without any fear of failing. There's even a handy "release" button up top, just in case you wanted to hurry the puzzle-solving along by unleashing a deluge of jewels onto the board. Definitely play this mode if you want to shut your brain off for a while.

And that's all there is to this game. It's a semi-fun puzzler that's held back by a cap on playtime, thanks to the key system, and an in-app purchase store that's totally unneeded. But if you're looking to unwind at minutes at time, then Jewel Thieves isn't a bad way to spend your idle time. And hey, at least admission is free. At that price, Jewel Thieves is a steal.


App Store Link: Jewel Thieves: Knight's Armor for iPhone and iPad | By Konig Studios | Price: Free | Version: 1.0 | 46.0 MB | Rating 4+

6.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating