Puzzle Quest 2 Review

Puzzle Quest has quickly become one of the most popular puzzle franchises this generation. How does this new title fare?

By James Stank. Posted 07/23/2010 13:15 1 Comment     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1up
1-Up Mushroom for...
Great presentation, solid puzzle gameplay
1up
Poison Mushroom for...
Voice acting, extremely long puzzle matches

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard scoring criteria.

Since the release of Challenge of the Warlords, Puzzle Quest has become a household name. It quickly became one of the most popular puzzle franchises of this console generation, with titles appearing on every major system. If you’ve been keeping up with our issues, you know that fellow staffer James Labalokie is a huge fan of the series. Unlike myself, he had actually played the original Puzzle Quest, and knew how great it was. Well, with the release of Puzzle Quest 2, I finally got to see what Puzzle Quest was all about. I had pretty high expectations going in, and I was not disappointed.

If you’ve never played a Puzzle Quest game before, picture Bejeweled mixed with an rpg. At the beginning of the game you get to create a character. You don’t have too much control, as you only get to choose the name, sex, and class of your character. The four classes are Templar, Barbarian, Sorcerer, and Assassin. Templars have extremely high defense, Barbarians are decent at everything, while Sorcerers and Assassins have low hit points, but can deal massive damage. You will also be able to see all the starting stats of your character. Agility is very important as the character with the highest goes first. After that’s out of the way you are thrust into the fantasy village of Verloren, which is under attack by rats and goblins. The story is mostly told by a maiden with the help of detailed, animated scenes. The only downside is that the story only appears in a small part of the touch screen during these moments, and it is easy to miss part of it.

Puzzle Quest 2 Screenshot Puzzle Quest 2 Screenshot

To move your character, simply tap a character, enemy or destination, all of which must have a green circle under them, as you don’t have total control of where your character goes. This doesn’t turn out to be so bad though, as your character walks pretty fast. Once you’re ready to battle, tap an enemy, and tap the battle option when it comes up. After that, get ready to play Bejeweled! Actually, that’s not quite true. I had said earlier that this game was a mix of Bejeweled and an RPG, and here’s why: while the puzzle board is very similar to Bejeweled‘s, there is much more than mindlessly matching colors. In Puzzle Quest, not only are there the typical colored gems, but there are also action pieces and skulls. If you match a row or column of skulls, you will do damage to your opponent’s life points. If you’re new to puzzle games, there is a help arrow that suggests which pieces to move, though it isn’t always in your best interests. To use your sword or shield, you will need to make action piece matches. All of the colored gems go towards your spells after being matched, with red ones being the most offensive.

The life points of your character and enemy, along with your gems, appears on the top screen, while the game field appears on the bottom. Once the game starts, you and your opponent will take turns matching gems on the same field. Match 4 in a row, and get an extra turn. Match 5, and get an extra turn along with a multiplier. The game ends when with you or your opponent are out of life points. Skulls, spells, and weapons will all help you defeat your enemies. When you have matched enough gems to use a spell or a weapon, its name will begin glowing. To use it, simply tap it and watch your character bring the pain. Of course, not all spells are offensive, as some are defensive or regenerative. Upon the completion of every battle, your character will gain experience. Once you level up, you choose a stat to raise, that corresponds to the gem of the same color. For example, green is stamina, which raises your life points.

Puzzle Quest 2 Screenshot Puzzle Quest 2 Screenshot

Along with the main quest, there are plenty of side quests and mini games to go around. Each of them also revolve around the “match 3” puzzle idea, whether it is to loot treasure chests or pick locks. Each of these mini games can be replayed later on the title screen. Also from the title screen you can choose to do a quick battle instead of the main quest, and in quick battles you fight against enemies previously encountered in the quest mode.

The game features a tiny bit of voice acting, though it gets repetitive very quickly. As far as the music goes, it’s something that you would expect from the medieval era, but nothing too great. The important thing to remember is that this game is all about puzzles and the presentation of menus. Puzzle Quest 2 may not have the best music or voice acting, but the menus and presentation of puzzles and stats is fantastic. Infinite Interactive definitely knows what it is doing here.

There is wireless muli-card play, but no support for the Nintendo Wi Fi connection. It’s really too bad, as this game would’ve been a blast to play online.

Puzzle Quest 2 Screenshot Puzzle Quest 2 Screenshot

So that covers what’s good and bad, right? Unfortunately, there’s more. There was a point in the game where the grinding RPG element of Puzzle Quest 2 took over. As the life points of my character and my enemies got into the 200+ range, battles really started dragging on. This isn’t a game that you can just spend a few minutes in at that point. You have to have a lot of free time, just as you would in a traditional RPG. On the bright side, there is no penalty for dying; you get experience even if you lose.

All in all, Puzzle Quest 2 is very satisfying and everything that I expected it to be. There were a few minor issues, which, if fixed, would make Puzzle Quest one of the best puzzle games ever. If the voice acting is improved (or removed), and if the later battles became quicker or maintained the same time commitment earlier ones did, there’d be no complaints. Puzzle Quest 2 is a solid game, and things will only get better from here.

One Response to “Puzzle Quest 2 Review”

  • 441 points
    Terr says...

    I have only played PQ2 for the 360 so far, but I have PQ1 & Galactrix for two systems. PQ2 is a great game, but they moved away from what make the first two more than great. The moving around & attempts to soup the graphics just made me a little disapointed. It’s a good game, but not as good as the first or Galactrix.

    Thumb up 0

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