Reader Review: Puzzle Quest 2

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Steven does, as he suffers from involuntary gem matching hallucinations.

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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.

Loved

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.

Hated

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

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words - yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


Comments

    I liked the Overworld. =(
    To me, going from point to point on the overworld created the sense of an epic journey, going from cities, mountains and forests. Sure, maybe I was just going around the place to collect some more gold from the towns, but here was this great big land in danger.
    This, perhaps ties into the Thin on Details point (a bit) though. Because as you say, here I am, one guy checking a village and the tunnels below it. There was no sense of epicness to it; it might as well have been about a guy who forgot to turn off the stove before leaving the house, so now he has to drive (/walk) all the way back.

    Still, good game, good review.

      My mate said the same thing, that he missed the Overworld from the first game. I guess it's just personal preference

    The 2 points on inventory and story make me pretty sad. I was super keen for PQ:2 might get the demo first instead. Side note bought all the DLC for Boraderlands! So good!

      I didn't find the inventory to be terrible. But it could be heaps better. I never had problems finding out what Items I have equiped (they have a tick in the box) but I did have a problem comparing items, as when I would mouse over the item, it wouldn't always show the stats. Sometimes it would take a bit of fiddling to get it to show.

      The story issue is pretty accurate though. I know the town name starts with a 'V' but right now it slips my mind.

      I'm having heaps of fun just exploring the dungeons and fighting the goblins (and now Orcs) though.

      If you really liked the first one and were super keen on the second, you should probably still buy it. The positives outweigh the negatives, you'll be annoyed by the issues I mentioned, but you'll still have fun.

        Agreed. Don't let the dodgey inventory system put you off. The improvements they've made well out weigh it. One thing I liked was if you accidently made a move that was illegal you don't lose your turn. This is particularly good on DS as I was constantly losing turns on PQ1 from bumping the screen.

        @Lortarg- The inventory system on PC if def more bearable due to the interface (played both versions) but it is pretty painful on DS. You can only view 3 items at a time and you have to tap on the item to view it and tap off to exit it. Pretty painful when trying to compare anymore that 3 weapons.

        I agree about the stoyr. I stopped even bothering to reader the speech as it was next to pointless and did not help you with the quest.

        All-in-all still a great game and a good review.

    I got it on the 2nd week it came out and it's still the wonderful puzzle gem to play on the go (if you got the DS version).

    I agree the inventory management system is a real pain though.

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