As you’ve probably heard from other places, one of the “next big things” is a recently released game by the name of Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords.
I challenge you… to a duel even more ridiculous than turn-based combat!
Puzzle Quest can best be described as a Puzzle RPG – you play a competitive puzzle, something like Yoshi’s Cookie or Bejeweled, where you take turns on the same board. Matching 3 or more of any object gives you mana, gold, or experience or does damage to your opponent, and you win by running your opponent out of HP. To top off the RPG bits, the single-player mode plays has an RPG-esque quest system complete with stylized fantasy portraits, and you can get equipment that modifies your stats or various board effects. On level-up, you can upgrade stats that increase your gains from matching gems or increase damage you deal.
The game itself is currently only for PSP and DS, but there was a PC demo (accessible from the official site) released a little over a week ago to widespread acclaim. The demo allows you to play up to a certain story point and reach level 7, but contains enough side activities to allow hours of gameplay. For example, enemies can be captured to extract their skills, and you can even capture a giant rat in the demo to use as a mount. If you’re up for a bigger challenge, you can try besieging one of the other cities on the map.
After even an hour of the demo I was hooked. By a couple days later, all of my roommates were too. I ordered it last week, and received it yesterday (though I hear it’s still in short supply). I’m really enjoying it, and so I recommend that those of you that haven’t tried the demo yet at least check it out. It’s a merger of genres that doesn’t sound so great at first (RPGs can have puzzles… but an RPG where fighting is solving a puzzle?), but it works out remarkably well.
I received the DS version of the game in the mail yesterday, and it is, as you’d expect, much like the PC version. It plays comfortably enough, and the difficulty tweaks make the game nicer to play. The only difficulty I’ve had so far is that sometimes the game seems to register a move when I don’t intend one.
For those more “in the know” than I as regards PC games, Puzzle Quest was made by the creators of the Warlords series. I’ve seen them for sale, but I’d never tried any of them before. After playing this, I’ll have to see what else Infinite Interactive has to offer.