Puzzle Quest surpasses a lot of other puzzle games with its fun puzzle combat and abundance of extra features.
-Nice variety of characters, skills and spells
-Fun puzzle fighting
-Plenty of side quests
-The computer gets all the breaks
-Puzzling gets very repetitive
Puzzle Quest is a unique game that combines RPG elements with fun puzzle combat. The story starts with your selection of the type of character you would like to play as in the game. There are four different class characters: Knight, Wizard, Druid and Warrior.
The Knight is a noble Paladin that proves to be a good fighter and healer. The Wizard is very knowledgeable in all spells but focuses more on fire based skills. The Druid is well adept in magic involving nature. The Warrior is a brute strength type fighter that can deal plenty of physical damage. After selecting your hero, naming them and choosing how they look, the game begins in the Castle of Bartonia.
The queen of Bartonia is a just and fair ruler that needs your help in stopping evil from taking over. She understands that you are still very inexperienced as a warrior so the first few quests involve a tutorial on how the game works. Once you build up your skills, the Queen wants you to defend the lands from monsters like Orcs and the Undead. As you explore the world you'll encounter other heroes and foes along the way. Later in the game you'll find out who the true evil wizard is that plagues the lands. Now the only one that can stop this pure evil and restore peace to the nations is your warrior. The story in Puzzle Quest is decent with plenty of extra side stories and minor story changing decisions to make.
The first question on your mind is probably how this game works. Well, in Puzzle Quest you'll get the same elements of an RPG but most of the gameplay is done on the puzzle board. As you fight other monsters, siege cities, or create new items, for example, the same puzzle board shows up. There are slight differences in your objectives, on the puzzle board, per task so I'll just go over the most common use which is fighting.
When fighting a monster (or another player online) your hero will show up on the left side of the screen and your opponent on the right. Also listed is your hit points, total gold, total experience, mana gauges (fire, water, air, and earth) and the skills / spells that you have chosen to use prior to the battle. Each player takes separate turns on the puzzle board. The board is filled with red (fire mana), green (earth mana), yellow (air mana), and blue (water mana) gems along with purple stars (experience), skulls (physical damage), wildcards (multiply for colored gems) and gold coins. Each player tries to make a series of three or more (with more than three resulting in an extra turn) like items by selecting a spot on the board and swapping it with adjacent (up, down, left or right only) items. When you are successful you'll receive the full effect of your combination and the series will disappear to be replaced with other random gems. For example, if you match three red gems your red mana gauge will increase by three points. The object is simple; reduce your opponent down to zero hit points.
There are two ways to deal damage to your opponent. One way is to get a combination of skulls to deal physical damage. The other way is to build up your mana reserves and attack your opponent with skills / spells. As you play through the game you'll notice that not all skills do damage to your opponent. In fact, some skills will heal your character, manipulate the battle grid or make the opponent lose a turn, for example. Each hero type has different skills to learn so each character will play differently. The puzzle fighting is a fun system that will provide hours of fun and excitement but later in the game, after you've fought hundreds of monsters, it can get rather repetitive. Another thing I've noticed is that it doesn't matter what difficulty you've specified because the computer typically gets all the breaks on the battle grid. This is very, very frustrating because you'll make a series of three and the stuff that falls almost always sets up the computer for a huge counter attack. This is a major turn-off for the game.
The leveling system is your basic RPG system that works on your experience gained. This is a great system that works well with the rest of the game. As your hero matches purple stars on the battle grid, defeats enemies, or completes quests, experience will be gained. After a certain level you'll get a chance to upgrade your physical attributes like battling skills, total hit points, and mana gained. Along with a physical attribute boost, your character will learn new skills and spells.
Puzzle Quest is a very open game that lets you do many other things then just fight monsters. As you explore the lands surrounding Bartonia you'll have a chance to meet new friends to fight along side with, build up your own citadel, capture other cities, and a lot more. As you play through the main story and side quests you'll meet other heroes that want to join forces with you. When you take on their help they'll grant you extra boosts in battle. The half-elf named Syrus Darkhunter will decrease an undead enemy by ten hit points right from the start of a battle. One of the more in-depth features to Puzzle Quest is the option to build up your own citadel. As you build up your own place you'll get a chance to learn enemy skills, craft extraordinary items, and even research new spells. This alone can have you spending hours and hours on improving your character. So, if you get stuck or sick of the main story there is plenty of extra things to do in the game that are worth your time.
GRAPHICS & SOUND
The visuals in Puzzle Quest are very sharp and clear. The pictures of the characters, monsters, and towns are incredible. You'll definitely appreciate the detail and clarity in the graphics.
Puzzle battling never sounded better. The sound effects from the battle grid, spells and other audio elements of the game are great. Plus, Puzzle Quest has a nice musical score that really fits the medieval mood.
For a puzzle game, Puzzle Quest definitely has plenty of depth and exciting action. If you're a fan of puzzle games then you really need to check this game out. For others, if you don't mind repetitive puzzle combat, you'll find that this game has plenty to offer.