Tuesday, April 24, 2007

VG Review: "Puzzle Quest"

D3, for the PlayStation Portable
rated E10+ (suggestive themes), $29.99.

If I ever have the opportunity to meet the creators of "Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords," I don't know if I'll hug them or hit them.

I'd hug them for taking two established video game genres and mashing them together into something thoroughly new and delightful.

I'd hit them for making a game that's completely addictive to the point of where an intervention might be necessary.

I'm being completely serious here. This game has me hooked to the point where any spare few seconds provides an excuse to pick it up. Waiting in line, eating breakfast, rebooting my computer: it's all fair game. Even as I write this review I keep stopping to pick up the game and play a few more rounds.

"Puzzle Quest" can best be described as "Bejeweled" meets "Dungeons and Dragons."

For those who haven't played the former, it's a "Tetris"-style game where you match up horizontal or vertical rows of jewels of matching color by swapping places with one of their adjoining neighbors.

The catch here is that the game is tied into to a large fantasy-styled world, with lots of rpg trappings.

After choosing what sort of character you'd like to play (druid, knight, etc.), you set off on a quest to save the kingdom from nefarious orcs, zombies, trolls and other nasty creatures.

The only thing is that instead of bopping them on the head with your weapon, you're matching up colored stones and other objects. Matching up three skulls, for example, deals damage to your opponent. Get their life down to zero and the battle is yours.

But hold on. Combining different colored stones increases your "mana levels," which in turn lets you cast devastating spells. And you can also increase your experience levels and bank account this way.

The puzzle conceit also extends to other aspects of the game. You match up stones to learn spells, train your mounts, lay siege to nearby towns and capture enemies.

Despite the repetitious nature of the game play, "Puzzle Quest" never gets boring. If anything, you find yourself constantly trying to find strategies and maneuvers to utilize. And the high challenge bar keeps the game from feeling like a cakewalk.

If you've got a yen for either casual puzzle games or rpgs, you owe it to yourself to check "Puzzle Quest" out. It's made my short list for the best games of 2007.

In the meantime, does anyone know of a good video game 12-step program?

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2007



At 8:05 PM, Blogger S.E. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:09 PM, Blogger S.E. said...

Interesting game... I like the sound of it. It sounds really original and fun, with a combination of mind and... er... Virtual matter? But I'm sort of afraid to try it if you are that obsessed with it. Then again, I get obsessed with almost every game that I play. Oh well. I don't have a PSP anyway, so it doesn't make a difference. Nice game though. Sorry about the comment mess up.

HGames - Webmaster of JHG Games, creator of What Do You Do With All Those Games?


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