Instead of swapping two gems, the player rotates a set of four gems. Not every move has to form a line of three, but each time a line is formed during a move, a multiplier chain will increase which will multiply points earned during the game. The multiplier chain will be broken if a move is made which does not line up three or more gems. There are several different modes of gameplay available.
The player tries to match gems together, and the resulting matches contribute to a level up bar at the left of the screen. When the bar is filled, the player is warped onward to the next level. The game ends when an active Bomb Gem or Doom Gem counts down to zero and the disarm spinner lands on a skull (on classic mode), at which point the game board is destroyed and the game ends.
The Zen mode is similar to the Classic mode, but do not include Bomb, locked, or Doom gems, therefore it continues endlessly and the player can never lose. This mode is intended for beginners and for those who want a more relaxed place of gameplay.
Challenge Mode is made up of several different challenges. Each challenge has a certain requirement to be met, or an amount of gems to destroy. In the first level of the 'Detonator' challenge, the player must destroy 8 gems in a single move. The second level has the objective of destroying 12 gems in a single move without using any Lightning gems. Another challenge, the 'Spectrum' challenge, at level one, the player is tasked with having 3 red matches on the board at once. If all levels of a challenge are finished, the player will unlock the "Eclipse" mode of that challenge, in which the player has to score as many points as possible in a limited time and condition given.
Blitz is the new name for the original Bejeweled game's timed mode. The gameplay is the same as in Classic mode, but with a time limit of five minutes to amass as many points as possible. The game ends when a Bomb Gem counts down to zero, or the five minutes are up. As the game progresses, the announcer will alert the player how much time remains starting at one-minute intervals, then thirty seconds, and finally ten seconds. A new addition to this mode is the Speed Bonus, which allows the player to score more points by making many matches quickly.
Normal gems come in eight different colors and shapes such as square-shaped rubies, rhombus-shaped topazes, sphere-shaped diamonds, decagonal emeralds, crystal-shaped sapphires, triangle-shaped amethysts and hexagon-shaped tourmaline . There are also several gems only available in Classic and Blitz as well as gems caused by matches of more than three gems: Flame Gems: These gems are created by matching 4 gems in a line, or by forming an L or T shape. When these gems are cleared, they explode and take any gems in a 3x3 radius. Lightning Gems: These gems are created by matching 5 gems in a line. When these gems are cleared, they shoot lightning in 4 different directions, thus destroying one row and one column of gems. Supernova Gems: These gems are created by matching 6 or more gems in a line. These gems can only be created by at least 2 cascades in a move. When these gems are cleared, they destroy three columns and three rows of gems. Coal: These gems can't be matched, but if you destroy it by a Flame, Lightning, or Supernova Gem, you can get some geode bonus points. The amount of geodes in a Coal gem ranges from 1-5.
There are also certain types of gems that are hazards: Bomb Gems: These gems are the most dangerous gems in the game. These gems feature a gem with an underwater mine with a number. This number ticks down after every move you make. Once a Bomb Gem reaches zero, the game is over, except in Classic Mode. In Classic Mode, if a Bomb Gem ticks down to zero, the player has one last chance to disarm it by the Disarm Spinner. The first time you use the Disarm Spinner, you have a 3 in 4 chance of survival. The second time is a 2 in 4 chance, while the third time and so on forth is a 1 in 4 chance. If the wheel stops on a pair of gems, the Bomb Gem is cleared, and any other Bomb or Doom Gems on the board will add an additional 6 moves. However, if a wheel stops on a pair of red skulls, the Bomb Gem explodes and the game ends. Locked Gems: These gems can't be moved, but you can still match them. The locks appear starting at level 4 in Classic Mode, A swinging padlock will appear on a random gem. Doom Gems: These gems are a combination of Coal, Bomb, and Locked Gems. However, unlike Bomb Gems, these gems only count down on matchless moves, and will instantly explode if the counter reaches zero.
The soundtrack to the game is composed by Finnish musician Peter Hajba, known by his demoscene nickname Skaven, and Phillipe Charon. The voice in the main menu and during gameplay is performed by Ken Tamplin. In the Xbox 360 version, it is voiced by Lani Minella.
A demo version exists for both Xbox Live Arcade (released on June 4, 2010) and PlayStation Network (released on June 11, 2010).
A sequel to the Bejeweled series is Bejeweled Blitz, which can connect to Facebook account and play with other people.