The Week In Games

Puzzle Quest is an unlikely Aussie success story. The sequel's out this week on Nintendo DS, having already been released on Xbox Live Arcade, version pictured. You should get it.

I say unlikely because developer Infinite Interactive had for years been responsible for the Warlords series, a PC game that never received the credit its well-executed but niche fantasy strategy deserved. It always stood in the shadows of higher profile titles such as WarCraft and Heroes of Might & Magic.

Infinite Interactive's genius, then, was to marry the twin hooks of Bejeweled style "match-3" puzzling with the RPG fundamentals of looting and levelling. Released in 2007, the original Puzzle Quest had its share of quirks - surely the AI cheated far too often? - but it was endlessly addictive. It was also, however, a little lacking in polish.

For this sequel, Infinite seems to have kept the quirks in check and upped the polish considerably. In addition, they've added a brace of new features including meaningful equipment, action point gems, and explorable dungeons.

With little else on offer this week, aside from a delayed ArmA II expansion, it's clearly a game all DS - and Xbox 360 - owners should be picking up.

New releases for the w/c July 12:

ArmA II: Operation Arrowhead (360 PC) What Is It? Standalone expansion pack for the super hardcore and really quite extraordinary (when it works!) military sim shooter. Should You Care? If you bought ArmA II, you need this.

Puzzle Quest 2 (DS) What Is It? Puzzle-based RPG that seamlessly entwines "match-3" combat with a host of varied ways to keep you addicted. Should You Care? Forget Galactrix and Puzzle Chronicles, this is the genuine sequel Puzzle Quest fans have been searching for.


Comments

    seems like a pretty slim release week - which isn't a bad thing..

    However i'm still yet to play a puzzle quest game and PQ2 looks like it could be a good starting point..

    I played the demo of puzzlequest 2, being a borderline addict of the first one, but found the walking around part really irritated me.
    just give me puzzles and a map, srsly.

    ARMA is pc not 360

    DeathSpank is on XBLA and PSN this week i'm fairly sure... can't wait for that...

    I suck at Bejewelled games, for some reason I just don't "see" the moves and am just really slow at them...

    However, games like Tetris and Lumines can see a few moves ahead in knowing what I'm going to do. Need a Lumines 3! STAT!!!

    Not quite sure that Operation Arrowhead is going to be released on 360s!

    Definitely getting Puzzle Quest 2 as the first one was amazing.

    I must ask though, what price will it be?

    No PSP version of Puzzle Quest 2?

    How does ARMA compare to Operation Flashpoint? I really liked the original flashpoint, but am struggling to get into this one, ARMA any better?

    Sorry I haven't played the latest Operation Flashpoint so I can't compare. ARMA is unforgiving - generally one shot kills. Think Ghost Recon 1, except far more complicated on an open world map. If you want a challenge and don't mind a heavy learning curve, you'll find it a challenge.

    Presentation isn't anything to write home about but the concept of ARMA was enough for me to give it a shot. As David mentions the key to the game is 'when it works.' Being heavily AI reliant rather than scripts, things can become a a bit weird. Luckily the latest patch greatly increases playability. You'll still need a decent rig for the best experience.

    My 2 cents.

      I'd add that if you preferred the original Flashpoint over the recent sequel, you'll most likely enjoy ArmA. It's from the same developers, after all.

    "For this sequel, Infinite seems to have kept the quirks in check"

    I would have to disagree with you there, this game definitely still has significant quirks. The main criticism I had of Puzzle Quest 1 was that there was a way to make your character very very broken. Broken enough that you could pretty much win every fight in the first round of a match. Puzzle Quest 2 has another very broken quirk in the Assassin character class, and it's much more obvious than in the previous game. So obvious in fact, that I noticed that almost everyone playing this game is using an Assassin, and probably doing the same thing. i.e. Blackjack --> Stealth --> Disarm --> Swift Strike --> Shadow Strike = DEAD.

      That's a bit of a shame to hear. Admittedly, I haven't played as that class, nor have I played the XBLA version. I do still think they've done a much better job than with the first game.

      Roll a high spell resist character and that Assassin is useless.

      The game is much more balanced than you think :)

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