Monday, March 26, 2007

Puzzle Quest demo

Infinite Interactive has put out an interesting product. Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords is a hybrid of the overly familiar Bejeweled formula and the OCD-ness of every roleplaying game ever made. The result: addictive fun! The game has been released for both the PSP and the Nintendo DS, but to get fans foaming at the mouth its developer has released a fairly involving demo for the PC.

The game opens with a character selection, letting the player select either a druid, a knight, a warrior, or a wizard. As is assumed, each class comes with their own specific stats, traits, and special qualities. I'm a druid; always have been, ever since the days of Diablo II. From here the story opens with some cutscenes, a map, and a booming soundtrack. Your character travels the world, accepting quests and battling monsters all while gaining experience. This is where the puzzle game takes heart.

You and your opponent take turns swapping tiles to get a row of three of the same. A row of coins gives you money to buy equipment and weapons, green and purple and blue add to your mana pool, and skulls deal damage to your opponent's life total. Four of anything gains you an extra turn. The addition of spells and chained attacks adds a lot of variety to the game, and though the beginning battles are very easy and basic they begin to gradually get harder.

So far the puzzle parts outshine the RPG parts. The story is quite ho-hum and nothing really to get excited about. It's just a means to an end, that's all. The only problem is that anyone can play Bejeweled online for free so you have to really like the RPG aspects to consider purchasing this for either the PSP or DS. Unfortunately, I'm content playing the demo (though there's a level cap for your characters in it). Still worth checking out though.

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