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Jade Monkey for Android is decent, but not particularly memorable

by Caitlin M. Foyt

The game of Jade Monkey is an average match-three puzzler for your Android phone. There's nothing special about this Bejeweled clone that sets it apart from any other in the marketplace. However, the game does work pretty well, and might be worth checking out if you are a fan or collector of match-three games.

This particular Bejeweled knockoff has a fun kind of Indiana Jones feel to it. The game is set among some ruins deep within the rainforest, where you, while on an exploratory expedition, have uncovered an ancient hidden temple.

Jade Monkey sticks to the standard rules found with most match-three games. Use your finger to swap the positions of jewels on the playing grid, either vertically or horizontally, to create rows of three or more of the same-colored stones. If you form lines made up of more than three gems, you can unlock some bonuses.

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One thing I especially didn't care for while playing this game was the shape of its grid. A big fan of match-three games, I'm used to easy-to-work-with game boards that line up columns and rows evenly. Because this grid is positioned inside of a large oval, the lines of jewels don't line up just right. Because you can't move anything diagonally, this really restricts the number of possible moves that you can make on the board. While some might argue that this serves as an additional challenge to the game, I see it as a poorly planned restriction that takes away from the full experience.

In spite of its flaws, Jade Monkey stands on its own as a decent puzzler app. You can customize your gaming experience by going into the settings to adjust the quality of the graphics (this helps save battery) and the possible length. The game seems to function without issue, which I always appreciate. Also, the ruins in the Jungle setting are quite fun.

The game's graphics look good when set to the best quality, but look like a bad computer game from 1995 when on the lowest-quality setting. Also, the effects in the game, such as when the rows are cleared from the grid, are elementary. It's a bit of a letdown in a game that costs $2, especially when so many other $2 games have eye-popping visual effects

There's nothing about this game that really sets it apart from the tons and tons of other match-three games. In fact, if you do some looking around, you'll find that many of these similar games won't cost you a cent. For instance, the ancient-Egypt gem-swapping puzzler Jewellust is available free, and it works just as well as Jade Monkey, and in some ways better.

If you really enjoy match-three games, and like to try out as many as you can, this is a worthy download. But, because Jade Monkey is not especially memorable, you wouldn't necessarily miss anything if you didn't check it out.