Good: Completely loyal to original hand-held version, +online -bugs Bad: Completely loyal to original han

User Rating: 9.5 | Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords X360
While 2 weeks ago everyone else in the world was losing their minds (but mostly just their patience) over Halo 3's release, there was a small yet loyal group that would have to wait just a little longer to see their hay day. And now that day has come, and it was everything that at least I had hoped it would be.

And for those of you who are too indulged in the commercial mainstream... Well, it won't be too long before you start hearing praises for this absolutely brilliant meshing of puzzle and RPG genres. While effectively just a Bejeweled clone, Puzzle Quest successfully integrates a simple, yet deep combat system into the oft-imitated puzzle classic. Toss in a well thought out elves-goblins-and-dwarves-fantasy story with anime-inspired art direction, and you have yourself a puzzle game classic on par with, dare i say it, Tetris.

This release of Puzzle Quest for Live Arcade marks the first time this fantastic game has seen the light of day unmarred by it's port development. While the Nintendo DS version had relatively few game-affecting drawbacks, the PSP, alternatively had the worst bug of all, rendering companions literally useless. This version marries the best of the 2, the superior graphics, sound, and layout of the PSP version, without the bugs that came along with it. But now we have something new to rave about. Multiplayer support via Xbox Live.

While this feature was a really a no-brainer and probably the best reason to be featured on XBLA, i did find something to complain about. It's not a big gripe, and honestly, could be a mistake on my part, but i found that that the lack of voice communication support really took away from the multiplayer experience that i was expecting. Truthfully, I'm thankful for even having multiplayer at all, but it feels to me a little too much like playing a slower, sometimes less, sometimes more intelligent A.I. Aside from that, the developer did well in adding balancing features such as level restrictions, and handicapping (where the lower level character gets adjusted stats, but no new spells).

My only other minor gripe was that we see virtually no changes other than the addition of multiplayer and the removal of bugs. There are no new enemies (keep in mind I'm only about 10-11 hours in) no new quests, no new items, no new classes, and no new spells. Although there is a new difficulty setting (at least, i think it's new) that provides more or less exp relative to the difficulty setting, it really isn't enough to provide a new experience for veteran players.

After all's said and done, Puzzle Quest is still among the best of the best, and for 1200MSP (US$15 ), this title is an absolute MUST for any self-respecting Puzzle/RPG fan. That statement goes tenfold for players that have yet to experience it's awesomeness.

Do yourself a favor. Get it now.