Review: Puzzle Quest 2 (XBLA)
Posted 2 years ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
The Puzzle genre is by far the most crowded of all the various game types. Consequentially, it takes something very special to catch the eye of anyone outside of the casual market, especially with the PopCap behemoth consistently re-setting the benchmark. Infinite Interactive managed to find that “something special” back in 2007 with Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. It was a wonderful combination of addictive puzzling gameplay with an RPG-lite mechanic the hooked gamers with its fresh approach to the genre. Last year’s follow-up, Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, failed to capture the same magic with it’s audience, even with the moderate critical reception. Now we have the first true sequel to Challenge of the Warlords. Has Infinite learned a thing or two from Galactrix or will the PQ franchise fall into one-hit wonder oblivion?
Fortunately, the lessons have not only been learned, but Infinite Interactive passed the test with flying colors. Puzzle Quest 2 takes the same mechanics we are all familiar with and adds a few things that not only deepens the strategy a bit, but makes the entire experience a little more personal.
During the last jaunt through the world of Etheria (for those not aware, it is indeed the same Etheria from the Warlords franchise), the view was a very zoomed-out perspective of the over-world map and the player interactions would pop-up in still-framed cut-scenes. Instead of traversing the entire land through the same disconnected perspective as before, this time around the game has an isometric look (ala Diablo) and the set-up has you beginning in a single town and working your way out to a frozen tower. It brings a much more personal feel to the adventure without sacrificing the larger scope. Plenty of side-quests can still be found and the quest log itself along with a fantastic movement guide means you won’t get lost traversing the point-and-click realm.
The view isn’t the only change though. The basic Bejewelled-style of gameplay is still present and accounted for. However, lots of new mini-games have been added as well. From looting treasure to bashing doors to casting spells (outside of battle); All actions will require you to complete a mini-game that’s similar to the regular puzzle battles, albeit with specific rules for victory. It adds a bit of variety to the overall flow. I did have one complaint about it though. As all of the mini-games are timed, speed is critical. Seeing how the larger chain bonuses are still in place, having the “4-in-a-row” and “Heroic Effort” exclamations constantly covering your screen, you’ll lose precious seconds waiting for it to clear enough to actually see the play area.
As this is a review of a downloadable title, I want to try and keep this short and sweet. Seriously, there is so much that this game offers, it’s like a full-fledged retail title packed into a small $15 download. Things like the improved combat system, enhancing your items with materials looted off your defeated foes or the vast array of different weapons, armor and other trinkets used to enhance your character’s abilities add several more layers of strategic depth. With the super-long story, tons of side-quests and 4 character classes to choose from plus the multiplayer component, 3 different difficulty settings and the ability to play any of the mini-games independently of the main story, Puzzle Quest 2 offers a virtual truckload of gameplay for your 1200MP.
However, in the end, the main question is whether or not the magically addictive spirit of the first game is still here. The answer is a resounding “YES!”
+ Recaptures the addictive magic of the first game
+ New mini-games breaks up the adventure nicely
+ New visual approach adds a more personal feel to the story
- Chain moves can cover too much of the playfield for a short time
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Release Date : 2010/06/30
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : D3 Publisher of America
Developer : Infinite Interactive
Category : Puzzle
ESRB : E
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