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 (
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.