By Jenni . July 6, 2010 . 1:11pm
It’s time to get addicted again – D3 Publisher has released a new Puzzle Quest that’s ready to monopolize your time. Pretend Puzzle Quest: Galactrix never happened, because Puzzle Quest 2 returns to the RPG match-3 battle roots established by Infinite Interactive in Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords.
The story in Puzzle Quest 2 isn’t a really big deal. Odds are, you’ll forget about it 15 minutes after you start playing. You are a hero (an assassin, barbarian, sorcerer or templar) who has come to Verloren, a fortress town home to people who are being assaulted by monsters coming from a mysterious castle tower. As the hero, it’s your job to save the townsfolk from dark forces.
One of the biggest Puzzle Quest 2 changes is you get to see your hero journeying around isometric areas in and around Verloren. You walk up to people to talk to them, perhaps to shop or take quests. You can see foes on the map and tap them to initiate a battle. Puzzle Quest 2 also has door unlocking and area searching mini-games, which are essentially more match-3 puzzles with a different ruleset to make things more challenging. These mini-games add a bit more variation, even though the mini-games are just more match-3 puzzles.
Just like the original Puzzle Quest, sometimes the match-3 battles in Puzzle Quest 2 all come down to luck. This means that, even when you are well prepared, you could fail. Thankfully, you aren’t severely punished for this. You don’t lose gold early on when you lose "random" battles and you still earn a small amount of experience.
Thankfully, you can use weapons in battles to give you an edge. Once you’ve acquired enough of weapon energy, you can use one of your equipped items on the enemy. Weapons can deal a good chunk of damage, and are often what you need to turn a dangerous situation to your advantage. You can also refine the materials acquired after battles to improve your weapons and armor, or use the money to just buy better equipment.
Spells/skills also return. Like before, you must make matches of certain colored gems to meet requirements to cast them. Once you do, you can unleash buffs, status ailments or attacks which can help influence your battles. These abilities are learned by leveling up – no more capturing enemies to learn their abilities.
Side quests give players a chance to boost experience points and earn those precious points for you your character’s five attributes. Provided you talk to any characters you come across, side quests are easy to find and act much like regular RPG side quests. You get extra experience and sometimes special items. Plus these extend the amount of gameplay.
Unfortunately, a number of features from Puzzle Quest didn’t make it into Puzzle Quest 2. You can’t create items or capture enemies and mounts to make your character more formidable. It’s disappointing, since those would have made the experience more well-rounded. This also means no citadel, where the crafting and capturing actions, among other things, took place. I can maybe understand the omission of mounts. Your character is supposed to be crawling through dungeons adjacent to Verloren, but enemy capturing could have easily been included and implemented. Your hero could have just had his or her own little place in Verloren to keep captured enemies or maintain a workbench.
In a way, Puzzle Quest 2 could be seen as a sequel and compliment to the original Puzzle Quest. While the core mechanics, fighting match-3 puzzle battles to improve your character and become a hero, are essentially the same, both games have a little something extra to offer players. Puzzle Quest 2 adds in equipment, dungeon crawling and match-3 mini-games, while the original Puzzle Quest had some capturing, crafting and even leveling elements that gave players more ways to customize their character and game. Each game has something to offer DS owners and if you enjoy one, you’ll likely enjoy the other.
Food for Thought