Review: Puzzlequest 2

OK Wait why review a game that's two years old? I tend to not have that much in way of spendable income (food doesn't buy itself and I don't feel like hunting whatever's in season,) and I saw it on sale for ultra-cheap. With that out of the way let's look at the game. Is it worth playing?

If you liked the first puzzlequest and can look past the flaws Yes.

The Basics.

Strip away the plot, the quests, the equipment, and you have Bejeweled. You match three or more blocks of the same color to score and then it's passed off to the computer for their turn. Only in this game winner is decided by who's left alive.

You have red, blue, yellow, and purple mana blocks that when matched let you cast spelles to heal, harm, or augment your stats. Then there are 'action' blocks that when matched let you use your equipment. Finally there's skull blocks that do damage to your opponent as soon as they're matched.

Everything else; every spell, sword, piece of armor, and even Enemy is somehow tied to that basic concept.

Expanded Concepts.

In Puzzle Quest: Challange of the Warlord you moved from city to city meeting static images for allies or opponents and you relied heavily on menues and character dialogue to know what was going on. Here to you largely have static images rather than animated and voiced cutscenes for when characers talk, but the world at large es expanded. Gone are the static cities that you only saw as blips on a world map. Now you can roam the world on foot or through portal network (which is really useful because otherwise straight walking to your destination from the shop vendor would make this a game breaker.)

Oh and there's more variety in your actions. Sure everything ultimately is a game of bejeweled but now you have locks to pick, doors to bash, rooms to search and so on. It is, as long as you like puzzle solving, a nice change of pace.

The Computer Still Cheats.

Don't know how to make it any plainer except by having the whole reviewed Puzzlequest 2: The Computer Still Cheats. It isn't going to always pick the best move for a given situation, or even do anything flat out impossible, but it seems that the computer gets to see beyond the edge of the board and see what's coming next because more often than not comboes will fall into it's lap from above or the 'suggested move' the computer gives you so you know there's at least something on the board, will either be an explicit setup for the computer to have a combo string as often as not. 

Case in point I was given a move suggestion that would have put a string of skulls in so the computer could get a five block combo of damage against me. This wasn't 'the computer would have to get a string and have the skull/damage blocks fall. This was something that was me doing something that would directly lead to the computer having an advantage.

Yet oddly enough the cheating seems less obvious when you use higher difficulties. Oh the game overal is harder, but it seems the cheating gets less easy to spot. that or I'm just a bad player. Either way it gets frustrating, doubly so when you get immersed and then get snapped out of it by the computer getting a string of combos that last a minute or two after it makes one move.

t out the things that I'd like to see done....and yet it's still fun.

Even against an opponent that gets a handout from the game AI Puzzlequest is still fun to play. Always one more enemy to fight. Always another piece of equipment to find. You have a long chain of little things to do just on the main quest, plus tons of sidequests that give you equipment, new spells, companions, and more levels. You will be stuck playing this game for hours and wonder where the time went. That or you'll have broke your DS by flinging it against a wall. Either or.

Things I would Like to See.

No game is perfict and since the development team behind this on has since ben bought up and parted out across EA's digital empire it's unlikely we'll ever see a Puzzlequest 3, or if we do it'll be a different team that does it. Still, gotta point at things I'd do different if I had half a chance.

Stop spamming me with quest updates. Give me a quest recieved message, a quest complete mission, and put the rest in the little log book thing. 

Let teasure chests have a default piece of equipment and anything from the puzzle be added goodies. I know it feels great when you manage to get a rare off of a chain of comboes, but the way the treasure minigame works means you could get the boxes to match and then have the board eat them right when you're about to match 'em up. This means you're often running around in gear that either is under-leveled or you've spent a small fortune and a ton of random items empowering fr that extra one or two points of damage/defense/healing.

Some sprite work in the between segment stills wouldn't hurt. As is we got a few words of tex over a still image and there you are new area. I know the first Puzzlequest did this, and i was annoyed but I ultimately saw it as not needed. My mind's changed. Having at least some pretty would be nice.

Try not to make computer cheating so blatant and obvious.

Wi-Fi for multiplayer would be great. Not likely even if another game were to come out, but would be nice.


Anyway yes I would recommend this as a buy. Just be aware that there are rough edges.
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