Puzzle Quest - Busy Gamer Rating 5
Travel the land with your hero defeating your enemies… by matching gems. Like Bejeweled meets Dungeons and Dragons.
The Short Story:
This is a game that may not be played by people who only read the description on the box. But it’s more than just a puzzle game since you also have to build up your character as you play through the story. There’s a lot to this game if you just give it a chance.
Ease of play allows for short sessions for the Busy Gamer and the portable versions allow it to go with you on the road or to the bathroom if you so desire. As such, Puzzle Quest : Challenge of the Warlords scores a 5 on our scale.
Body of review:
I admit to being a fan of puzzle games. The majority of my portable collection is puzzle type games or brain teasers. So when I heard there was a puzzle game that involved role-playing aspects, I just had to check it out.
The character creation is a simple process. There are four classes each with its own starting strengths and skills, four portraits for each class, and then you can name your character. Once you’re done with this process, you begin the tutorial portion which allows you to see how each of the gem types work and how your spells will affect the game board.
There are four types of mana gems representing each of the four elements, Blue for Water, Red for Fire, Yellow for Air, and Green for Earth. Matching the colored gems builds your mana reserves which in turn allows you to cast spells. There are also Skull gems which, when matched, deal direct damage to your opponent. Unless, of course, your opponent matches the Skulls in which case damage is done to your character.
There is also gold you can match to build up your cash reserves and purple star gems which grant experience at the end of combat. How much is given at the end of combat is determined by your Cunning Skill. The higher the Cunning, the more you are rewarded for these matches. Cunning also determines who will go first when a match begins. If your skill is higher, you go first and vice versa if your opponent has the higher skill.
The spells you gain as you level will affect how a match plays out. Some spells do direct damage to your opponent while others may clear a certain type of gem from the board, either in mass or based on how much of a certain type of mana you have when you cast it. And to further reinforce your skill set, once you have defeated a certain type of opponent three times, you are allowed the option of capturing that creature to learn spells from it. The capture process is handled through a board that
you must completely clear without benefit of your spells and without interference from your opponent. These puzzles can be daunting at first but they can be skipped completely if you simply want to use the base skills of the class you have chosen.
The story line is enjoyable and you will meet characters that can be added to your “party” for additional benefits. While these characters provide no additional spells during combat, the boosts they provide during combat are substantial. Whether it is damage to your opponent before the match even begins or additional damage as combat proceeds, each individual can turn the tide of combat.
Additionally, various quests will become available based on what characters have joined you. The quests themselves may only provide experience when completed but several also offer up extra gear your character may equip to provide bonuses during combat. With this degree of customization, you will be tempted to play through the complete story more than once simply to see how a new character will develop.
Puzzle Quest has a low learning curve, a quest log which allows the player to see what exactly they were doing the last time they played, and an ease of play that will keep the Busy Gamer coming back for more. Throw in a multiplayer mode that allows you to see how your character stacks up against your friend’s and you’re certainly guaranteed a lot of bang for your buck.
Grits – End of Line