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This review was submitted by Steven Bogos. If you’ve played Puzzle Quest 2, or just want to ask Steven more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Puzzle Quest 2 (DS)
Puzzle Quest 2, not to be confused with Puzzle Quest: Gallatrix, is the sequel to true blue Aussie developer Infinite Interactive’s surprisingly addictive 2007 hit, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. It’s available on PC, Nintendo DS and Xbox Live Arcade. This review is for the DS version of the game.
The same yet different: The puzzle combat in Puzzle Quest 2 is largely the same as its predecessor. You match skulls to do damage and match coloured gems to gain mana for spells and abilities. Noticeably, the non-combat gems that awarded extra experience or gold when matched are thankfully absent. In their place is a new ‘item’ gem, which gives you a new kind of resource that allows you to use equipped items such as swords and staves. It’s a streamline to a system that was already hopelessly addictive, and can turn five minutes before bed into an entire night of battles.
Over the overworld: The overworld of the first game has received the chop. Instead of gallivanting around the countryside, collecting resources and capturing creatures for your citadel, Puzzle Quest 2 puts the player in a more familiar fantasy RPG setting. You play a single character in a much smaller scale map, exploring dungeons and slaying evildoers. It’s a welcome change to all the niggly resource management of the first game.
Inventory management: Bad inventory management can turn a great RPG into a nightmare. One needs only to look at all the rage surrounding Mass Effect’s horrible system and its subsequent removal in Mass Effect 2. Puzzle Quest 2, sadly, drops the ball on this one. You can’t compare stats of quest reward/drop weapons against those you have equipped. You can’t even tell what items you have equipped most of the time. Browsing shops is clunky and unintuitive, and trying to figure it all out is a chore in itself.
Thin on details: I’ve played this game for at least a dozen hours, yet if asked the story, I’d give you a blank stare. You arrive in some town whose name I’ve forgotten, and slay some goblins that are apparently invading. You then go into some kind of ice cave to fight the ‘goblin king’. There’s very little sense of an overarching story, and the most important lore segments are simply presented in big text boxes at the end of a quest. I’m usually a big lore nerd, but Puzzle Quest 2’s story is just so disinteresting.
Puzzle Quest 2 is not without its flaws, yet it is still a highly addictive little ‘gem’ of a sequel that will suck more than a few hours out of you. If you liked the first one, you should definitely pick it up on your platform of choice and support Aussie developers!
Reviewed by: Steven Bogos
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