This isn't quite the stuff of legends.
Jewel Legends: Tree of Life, another match-three puzzle game on the DSi Shop, makes a great first impression with polished controls and colorful graphics. However, some noticeable problems arise as the game progresses.
The game controls wonderfully (you switch adjacent tiles with the stylus to match three or more of the same type), and does a good job of introducing new gameplay aspects often, the most interesting of which is the power-up system.
During gameplay, you can match three crystals to collect energy. Gather enough, and you can use power-ups to help finish the level. More power-ups unlock as you progress further in the game, with more powerful variations taking more energy to use. Wise use of the abilities is essential to progressing through the game’s two modes.
In Adventure Mode, you play as the Hods, magical beings who lived in peace with the Tree of Life until a dark demon forced them into hiding for many years. With the defeat of the dark demon, the Hods must restore the Tree of Life by rebuilding 10 structures on the tree, which they do by lining up at least three of the same symbols in a row.
The process of building a structure consists of 10 levels. To successfully solve a level, you must collect a certain amount of three types of materials and destroy all the blue marble slabs on the play field within a time limit. The game has no difficulty tiers, instead opting to let you try a level again with an additional five minutes of time if you fail a stage, though the challenge is inconsistent—the first level of a building can be more difficult than the last.
After completing a building, you unlock a bonus level in which symbols drop from the top of the screen, and you match them until you collect enough of one material or hit the top of the play area and fail. These bonus levels are a nice change of pace, and it’s a shame they are not used more often. Tree of Life also offers a Relax Mode, which allows you to replay unlocked levels.
Over the course of playing you unlock trophies you can view in the main menu. The 19 trophies encourage you to keep playing by acting as rewards when you do well such, as solving a level without using power-ups, though some are banal (such as getting a trophy for getting 12 other trophies).
Jewel Legends: Tree of Life is a solid fix for your match-three needs but doesn't do enough to differentiate itself. What begins as fun quickly turns monotonous through the one hundred stages the game offers.