Bejeweled 3 Brings Poker, Ice Storm to Addictive Matching Game This DecemberS

Bejeweled 3, the first "true sequel" to the popular decade-old matching game that more than half a billion people have played, hits PopCap.Com and retailers on Dec. 7 for a nickel shy of $20.

The game will include reworked music and graphics, "re-imaginings" of the four original game modes of Bejeweled 2 and four new games including Ice Storm and Poker. The game will also include a quest mode with eleven mini-games and 40 quests.

The press release says that new and expanded featured in Bejeweled 3 will include:

Classic: Play the most popular puzzle game of the century, with powerful new gems and new ultra-smooth gameplay

Quest: Journey through 40 magical puzzles in this multifaceted Bejeweled challenge!

Zen: Personalize your experience with ambient sounds and binaural beats - a revolutionary new way to relax!

Lightning: Charge up with a heart-pounding, beat-the-clock bout of gem-blasting fun!

Secret Games: Unlock 4 all-new games including Butterflies and Ice Storm

Badges: Earn up to 65 badges to prove your skills

High-definition graphics and high-fidelity audio: Bejeweled is now more dazzling than ever before!

Ultra-smooth gameplay: Make multiple matches while new gems fall into place

"The challenge in creating a new version of Bejeweled is to innovate and keep it fresh and exciting without losing touch with the game-play that millions of people love," said Jason Kapalka, co-founder and chief creative officer at PopCap and co-creator of Bejeweled. "So we're very careful when we make changes to the core game, which is why it can take so long!

"We've worked hard to make sure Bejeweled 3 retains the classic appeal of the earlier games while bringing a host of exciting new features to the table."

Recent updates to the Bejeweled formula include Twist and Blitz, pictured above.