Sunday, May 27, 2007

Review: Puzzle Quest (PSP/DS)

Puzzle Quest is, at first glance, a carbon copy of Bejeweled or Zoo Keeper, but with a classic RPG twist to set it aside from those titles. You're presented with an 8x8 grid of pieces. By swapping one piece with another and lining up columns of three (or more) identical colours, you receive colour-coded mana, gold, experience points or inflict harm upon your opponent. You'll travel about an inviting overworld map, dotted with castles, villages, lairs and strongholds, taking on quests and fighting monsters. You'll receive new weapons, equipment, and spells. Sounds like fun, right?

It is. But the core mechanics of the gameplay are, in a sense,
too static and haphazard. While you often need think several steps ahead every time you move a piece, there's no doubt you'll wonder whether the AI is cheating. And, to be fair, the problem is that luck and randomness are inevitable factors of each battle. The DS is naturally immediate in its control scheme, although the graphics aren't as crisp and clear as they are on the PSP, and there are barely any flashy special effects. Both, but especially the PSP, has problems with the screen freezing up at times, requiring you to replay your opponent once again.

Puzzle Quest is challenging, and it soon gets repetitive. Personally, I get the feeling it is a one trick pony at heart, and that assumption is reinforced when you consider the static setting of the challenges, which de facto can't offer much
variation or surprises. Still, it has a certain depth - although you're not exactly urged into exploring it.


David said...

Oh, and PC users can get the demo here:

sabina said...

sounds lika my kinda game :)

dunken said...

Don't forget that it will be released on Xbox Live Arcade in a couple of months. Can't wait!