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Puzzle Quest has been taken over my life just recently!
After playing this at a friends house, I just had to get myself a copy. In fact, it had such an impact on me that I bought a DS especially so I could play Puzzle Quest.
If you are into games such as Bejewelled or Zuma, games that rely a lot of luck with a little judgement, and also enjoy a dash of role playing in your own 'world', discovering new cities across the map - then this is definately for you!
In a Bejewelled/Connect 4 style, the very base of the game is that you have to match up a minimum of 3 of the same coloured mana (stones) to enable you to use spells, whilst matching up lines of skulls to reduce your opponents life score. Victory is obtained by reducing your opponent to 0 before they get you there first!
However the game is much larger than this. There is the chance to take cities, capture and train creatures, create runes and spells and expand the map as you discover new cities. Suddenly, this genre of games is not just endlessley advancing through levels with no particular direction, but you can take the game in several directions at once by doing various tasks and battles at the same time.
At the moment it is the only game I am playing, and I have lost many hours to it - an excellent choice in my opinion.
If you've ever played Bejewelled, you'll know how addictive it can be. If you thought it couldn't get any better, play Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords on the DS and think again.
Puzzle Quest (PQ from now on) mixes the basic gameplay of Bejewelled with traditional role playing game quests. You play a knight undertaking different quests for a variety of characters you meet. The more you complete, the more powerful you become. You can mix spells to use against enemies, buy magical items and so on. Where PQ it's different is in its combat system. Instead of a points-based fighting system, you have to defeat them at a game of Bejewelled.
It sounds crazy, but it works really well. When you fight an enemy, you get a grid, full of different coloured gems. You take it in turns to move one gem a single space to create a line of at least 3 identical gems. Occasionally, skulls appear on the screen. Match three of these and your enemy suffers damage. The game ends when either you or your enemy have no strength left.
It's so simple it is easy for anyone to pick up and start playing, and is instantly addictive. But other bits of the game add a more strategic element, giving it greater depth and long-term value. Each character has special spells at their disposal which can be cast once you have collected the correct number of jewels. So, the game becomes a balancing act. Do you try and collect the right coloured gems for your spells, which allows you to inflict more damage, or do you rely just on the skulls to gradually whittle down your enemy's strength? The deceptively simple gameplay suddenly becomes more complex and you need to think carefully about which jewels will give you the biggest advantage.
Outside the battle mode, the RPG element works very well too. You can use gold you have earned to build up your citadel, which then allows you to learn new spells, train mounts that will make you faster and stronger or build new weapons. You can accept quests from people you meet on your travels and the decisions you make can alter the course of the game and lead to it branching off in a new dimension. This element adds a surprising amount of depth. You soon find yourself deeply engrossed in your character's quest, determined to ensure that you successfully complete each mission you undertake.
Puzzle Quest turns out to be fiendishly addictive. From the moment I bought it until the moment I completed it (and I would estimate that at 100+ hours of gameplay) no other cartridge got a look-in on my DS. It has that elusive "just one more go" element. Win a battle and you head straight off on the next part of your mission; lose and you immediately look for a rematch until you win. You would have thought that simply swapping jewels would become tedious after a while, but the RPG element gives it that extra dimension and keeps you playing. Even when you've completed the whole thing, it's still the type of game you'll return to occasionally for a quick fix.
Although some of the gameplay elements, such as the spells can take a few games to master, there is a good learning curve and you slowly find yourself being more skilful. It really feels like a genuine test of skill rather than a game of chance. If you make a mistake and hand the advantage to your enemy, it's because you've made a daft move. Just occasionally, it can be a little frustrating as the jewels seem to line up perfectly for your opponent and it can be annoying if your opponent uses his spells to get lots of extra turns, effectively locking you out of the game and leaving you feeling powerless. Having said that, if you get it right, you can do the same to him - which is a great feeling!
One aspect I did find frustrating was the "help". If you can't see a move, the DS will suggest one for you but it doesn't always suggest the best move. At times it seems to be in league with your opponent, suggesting a move which sets up your computer opponent perfectly. I quickly learned always to check the suggested move and see if there were any better alternative, often only accepting the recommendation as a last resort.
Graphics-wise, things look pretty good, if fairly basic. The map for the RPG element is detailed enough and looks fine, if nothing spectacular. There are some cut-scenes showing dialogue between various characters which look pretty and add a bit of variety to the game. They are typically pseudo-Japanese in style and suit the game. The cut scenes are accompanied by some pretty cheesy dialogue, but this just adds to the sense of fun -and some of the dialogue is genuinely amusing too.
The actual Puzzle screen is initially confusing on first glance. Due to the DS screen size, it's fairly small - an 8x8 grid means jewels are quite densely packed. The jewels are also the shape and size - the only difference between them is colour. This can sometimes make spotting the best move a little tricky, but your eye soon becomes adjusted to the grid and you can spot possible moves fairly quickly.
Sound-wise, there are a number of atmospheric tunes which perfectly complement the pseudo-medieval setting for the game and sound effects, whilst fairly minimal, are appropriate.
A number of different game modes add longevity. You can undertake the Quest mode, choose to fight a specific opponent in a single match or play against other human players. These mean that you can sit down and have a quick game any time you like (although such is the addictive nature of PQ that there is no such thing as quick game!) The one big disappointment is that there is no "score attack" mode in Bejewelled, where you just try and destroy as many jewels as you can to accumulate high score.
A few minor quibbles aside, though, this is one of the most incredibly addictive games I've ever played (in a video game playing history going back to 1981). It can be a little tricky to get hold of and you can expect to pay £10-20 for a used copy. Believe me it's worth every penny.
© Copyright SWSt 2009
I bought this game after playing for about half an hour on a friend's version about 6 months ago and it is definitely one of my best DS buys. Simple to get into, but also extremely addictive.
Based on the bejewelled engine, you are a young hero starting out to simply discover the reason behind the recent upsurge in orc/unedad attacks, with all battles, etc taking place on the bejewlled style board.
One of the aspects of this game that I think makes it stand out so much is the replayability factor. With different classes of character you can start off as, different spells to learn, creatures to capture whether to learn spells from them or use them as mounts and even some slight different pathways you can take in the storyline you can play it through several times before you start feeling bored.
It is definitely the type of game that you can either pick up and play for 10 mins, or get yourself lost in it for several hours
I bought this game, Puzzle Quest- Challenge of the Warlords around 6 months ago after seeing this game for quite a while on play.com and thinking that it looked like the kind of game I like to play- a bit of puzzle combined with some kind of platform or strategy running along side it. I do still play it from time to time although not as much as I did when I first bought it.
The game was released by the Australian company, Infinite Interactive in 2007 for the DS.
------------- GAME PLAY ----------
The basis of the game, with the gem swapping to create lines of three of more of the same gem to collect points is pretty simple yet strangely addictive and with more of a twist than the classic bejewelled game
Within this game structure, there are different things to do along a story line but it all revolves around the gem swapping minigame.
Basically the story line revolves around a role playing theme where you move around a world full of dungeons, castles, dragons and other mythical creatures. As you defeat these characters you can gain experience points which help you develop your skills, spells etc as the main role playing character
I found this game somewhat disappointing as although the basics of the game are good, I did expect a little more for my money as there is really not much to do other than the gem swapping. Also I can see that although the gem swapping game is quite straightforward, if you do not get the hang of it (in the case of my younger brother!) the game can become very frustrating and therefore boring to complete
However this game does have quite a few hours of game play and I have had it for quite a while and still not finished it, and I cannot really see the plot in the story of the game coming to the end anytime soon!
The gem swapping does use the touch pad of the DS well and makes the game seem more interactive also.
-------------- GRAPHICS -----------------
The graphics were okay on this game but still not great compared to how it could possibly be. I find that because of the small DS screen in some parts of the game writing and images can become too small to see well and this can sometimes affect the game.
Because of the tiny graphics in some parts, when you need to click on something with the stylus it can be difficult because the touch screen is not precise enough to cope with it if you get what I mean?
-------- MUSIC --------
This is another downside of the game as it is extremely repetitive and quite annoying with the little varying tunes. In fact, I hardly ever have the music turned on for this game as I find it doesn't really add anything to the game as it should do, so I just have it turned off
I bought this as a treat as couldn't get proffesor layton and thought that this would be a good game to play insted . when i got it home and tried it i thought that it was crap but i persevered and think it's a brilliant game i am addicted to it now.
you go from town to town picking up quests then to complete the quest you have to fight a baddie through a game of like be-jeweled.
on some you can try and capture the beast by which you have a like be-jeweled screen and less jewels and you have to clear the screen of them all to capture the baddies as you play whether you win the battle or lose you still gain more life levels (purple stars) and gold to buy things at the shop and you can learn spells to help you in the battle.
i pick it up to play for ten mins and 3 hours later i'm still playing on,
it's a highly addictive game and i love it!!!!
Puzzle Quest is a good title as it is indeed part puzzle and part quest.
In the quest part of the game you are a young adventurer following a story which requires you to travel from city to city and to creepy haunts in between to fulfill mission and fight battles. You can choose your character from a number of different personae.
On the way you will fight all sorts of baddies including rats, dragons, minotaurs and ogres - each victory will leave you with more experience, gold and powers.
But the battles themselves are not conventional battles. They are based on the "Bejewelled" puzzle, where you line up different coloured symbols in groups of 3 or more to slash your enemy's life points and build up 'mana' which you can then use for special moves. You alternate with the enemy in this puzzle game until one of you is defeated.
You can then use gold and experience to upgrade powers and equipment giving additional health/strength etc.
It's a good combination - I enjoy puzzles, but just by themselves they get boring, so this keeps the interest and it can become quite addictive. However, eventually the fact that all battles are essentially the same thing at different levels of difficulty does get a bit samey.
All in all though - definitely worth a look.
Puzzle Quest - Challenge of the Warlords is a rarety in games these days - an original idea. So many games now are annual franchises, where each year a new version comes out only slightly tweaked from the year before - so when something new does actually come out, it makes a refreshing change.
What makes Puzzle Quest unique is that it takes elements from two different genres of game, puzzle games and role-playing games, and combines them into a package greater than the sum of the parts.
The story is typical fantasy RPG fayre, you are a young hero given the task of investigating, and defeating a mysterious undead foe that threatens the peaceful life of everyday folk in Etheria.
As you progress in the game you gain experience points to spend on improvements to your character, and you collect money to spend on weapons and armour etc. You can also capture creatures to ride as mounts and forge your own equipment in some mini-games andside quests.
What sets the game apart from a standard fanasty rpg though is the combat system... Puzzle Quest uses a turn based combat system based upon the addictive puzzle game "Bejewelled", where you move pieces on a game board to make lines of 3,4,or 5 each turn. These are various coloured pieces than you gain "mana" for making lines of, and this mana is used for casting spells and special attacks. There are also gems that give experience points, coins that give money, and skulls that do direct damage to the opponent when lined up. It sounds complecated, but it is simple to pick up, intuative, and very addictive!
The gameplay makes use of the stylus to move your character around the map, and also to swap gems during combat. This works well and feels natural.
For a small handheld like the DS, the sound quality is decent, and the in-game music fits the mood of the game well, although it does get repetitive on a long game session.
The graphics are clear and functional, they are not "state of the art" by any means, but they do exactly what they need to and in no means detract from the gameplay experience.
Overall this is a game that should be commended, a small developer took a risk by making a game based on a new idea. It could have been a disaster, but in actual fact Puzzle Quest is fun, addictive, and challenging.
Definately worth picking up on the DS if you have one, and if you don't, then it is available on most other formats as well
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords is a brand new, genre-bending title that ups the ante on traditional puzzle games by incorporating strategy, role-playing elements and a persistent storyline. Set in the Warlords universe, the game challenges players to save the land of Etheria from evil Lord Bane as gamers engage in battles fought by means of competitive, head-to-head match-three style puzzle games in one of three gameplay modes: Single-player, Instant Action or Multiplayer. Victory will advance a player's customisable hero, magical arsenal, creature companions and more ultimately rewarding gamers at nearly every turn and deepening their immersion into the richly diverse world. The game's remarkable mix of classic puzzle gameplay and an abundant suite of characters, customisations, spells, companions, tameable monsters and more provides a fresh take on the puzzle genre that offers endless hours of replayability. Designed specifically for handheld gaming systems, Puzzle Quest can be enjoyed in long or short doses, cultivating a casual but deeply satisfying and compelling gameplay experience.