Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords delivers, for the first time ever, classic puzzle-game action backed with an epic story of good versus evil. Challenge your puzzle skills in single-player campaign mode, or battle your friends in multiplayer action. Experience a puzzle game with role-playing elements. Its like nothing youve played before.
Number of Players: 1-2Released: 2007
Puzzle Quest is the fusion of two genres; puzzle games and RPG’s. While at first you might think these wouldn’t blend well together, the game actually manages to do it in gripping fashion. Set in a land of swords and sorcery, Puzzle Quest leads the player on a journey to save the land from a growing undead menace.
To progress they must complete missions and side quests, along the way defeating various mythical foes like skeletons, Minators and evil Sorcerers. Combat is where the puzzle element comes in to play – faced with a 88 grid of different coloured orbs, the player and their opponent must take turns to move one at a time, matching them into a straight line of four or more. This awards them Mana of the corresponding colour to power their special magical attacks which can be used to drain their opponents Hit Points. There are also skull tokens which can be aligned to deal out damage, gold which can be amassed to buy items for your character, and experience tokens to help level up your character making them more powerful.
Movement of the on-screen orbs and tokens can only be made in one of the north, south, east of west directions and only if it completes a line of three or more. Due to this limitation, the game tracks all possible combinations, emptying the screen and starting again when no more are possible (resetting everyone’s Mana levels in the process). While this means that the player can always be sure that there is a move left to make somewhere on the grid, the downside is that the AI is also acutely aware of the most powerful moves, making it unfair as it appears to cheat and mercilessly hammers you in to submission.
It’s a steep learning curve but thankfully it gets easier over time as Hit Points increase and it is even possible to spot some of the AI’s tactics before it does them. On top of this enjoyable puzzle element there is also interaction from the map screen where your character moves from town to town recruiting others into their party, buying items and weapons to upgrade their stats or to fortify their Castle, allowing them to capture enemies to learn their magic attacks for their own use. Later on they can even lay siege to towns to overthrow them and earn more gold. All this adds an extra depth to the game which is typically missing from standard puzzlers.
Given the lengthy time taken to complete just the main quests without even taking in to account the optional extra side missions and researching spells etc, there’s also plenty of value for money. Highly polished, well thought out and entertaining, Puzzle Quest is nothing short of a highly recommended purchase.