BrainJewel in Review – Are You Smarter Than A Mummy?

It seems like so many in the puzzle genre revolve around physics based gameplay that it’s nice once in a while to load up a game like BrainJewel.  After playing this offering from TribePlay for a little bit you suddenly realize how nice it is to simply fling stuff at other stuff and get points for it.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that physics games aren’t fun, nor am I claiming that this isn’t a good game, because neither statement would be true.  I’m just suggesting that if you’re going to tackle a title like BrainJewel, you might want to have a game around that won’t require nearly as many brain cells when you need to take a break every once in a while.

Brain Jewel is a series of mini-games somewhat reminiscent of Big Brain Academy, though they’ve decided to go with an Egyptian theme here.  There might be a story behind the game as well, but it’s been so long since I started I don’t remember what it is.  There are currently 12 different games you can play, with space on the map for at least one more and a final treasure, both of which are “coming soon”.  Normally I’d wonder what’s taking so long, but my cognitive skills thus far have only gotten me through half the games, and I have a feeling it will be a while before I need the extras unlocked.

So far the games test things like memory, numerical analysis and pattern recognition.  The memory collection includes things like remembering which squares in a grid had items in them, picking which item doesn’t make it back after a tornado blows everything away and finding pairs of mummies after they are shown to you and hidden.  The last one in that group has given me the most grief so far, because after a while they all start looking the same (not really, but to me they do) and they start rearranging the positions of some of the mummies to make things harder.  Other games include balancing a scale by removing gems, tapping fireballs in order of the numbers on them, and matching a key with various shapes on it to the indentations it will unlock.  Trust me when I say even the easy sounding ones in this assortment aren’t once you get into it.

Each game earns you between 1 and 3 stars which are used to unlock subsequent games.  You’ll also earn gems which can be spent on boosts.  These include an hourglass that adds 5 seconds to your game, a shield which protects you from two mistakes, and a multiplier that gives you double points until your first mistake.  Be sure you want to use boosts though because once you buy them they are automatically active until used up.  Along the way you’ll earn artifacts that work like achievements, but there is no social network integration, which is kind of ironic given the game originates from Facebook.

The graphics are cute enough to keep kids entertained but sharp enough for adults to enjoy as well.  They actually look like they came from a nicely drawn Saturday morning cartoon, with amusing characters and detailed backgrounds that all blend together in a slick visual package.  I honestly get too wrapped up in the games to notice the sound effects much, though I do like the voiceover that says things like “awesome” and “excellent”, and I could certainly do without the timer in the last few seconds.  I think there’s only one background song, and it does kind of get repetitive if you’re actually listening, but just like with the sound effects I’m usually too busy to notice.

As far as “brain training” style games go, this is probably one of the better ones I’ve played when you set aside Big Brain Academy.  It’s well constructed, the games are fun, and underneath the quick thinking, action oriented exterior you’re actually fine tuning some skills you might not even be aware that you had.  I also appreciate the fact that the game does not belittle you for not doing well, unlike some of the other ones that I have played.  The best part is that unless you have an incredible memory, you’ll probably be playing for a long time before scoring thee stars on every game.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: BrainJewel – Challenge your brain in Ancient Egypt Developer: TribePlay
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $1.99 App Size:
  • Fun, diverse assortment of games
  • Easy to get into
  • Challenging to master
  • Nice visuals
  • Menus somewhat unresponsive
  • Can be difficult unlocking new games


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