Review: Puzzle Quest 2, by Namco (universal binary)
Puzzle Quest 2, by Namco Networks America Inc. Game (universal binary)
• Nice combination of RPG and gem-swapping
• Multiplayer options battles included!
• Nice graphics
• Movement on the iPhone is a little difficult if you have big fingers
• Couldn’t find anyone on Game Center to play!
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A few years ago, Aurora Feint came out, which had a nice combination of RPG game play with gem-matching (aka bejeweled) game play. Around the same time, Namco came out with a game called Puzzle Quest. Recently (well, maybe not SO recently) they came out with a new version, Puzzle Quest 2, that seems to enhance and increase the RPG aspects of the game.
The game is well designed – you start off choosing a character class (with different strengths and weaknesses). On a side note, I was happy to see they had female versions of the character classes as well – too many times RPG games ignore potential female players. Once you start to play, you go around completing various mini-quests, collecting rewards and building up your character. Pretty standard RPG fare. The difference is in how you complete the various quests. When you undertake a quest (or if you are not fighting, it is called a challenge) is that you play the gem-swapping game . If you are fighting someone, you take turns, each making a move to swap gems. Match 3 “skulls” and you do damage to your opponent. Match three of the same colored gems, and you build up magic for spells. Match three gauntlets, and you build up power to use a weapon. While you are making your moves, your opponent is doing that same (with his own spells and weapons).
This type of game play presents a challenge, because you can’t really plan ahead very far ahead because your opponent may always foul up your plans! Different spells require different colored mana (reminds me a little bit of MtG). Different enemies will have different strengths and weaknesses that you can try to exploit. Along the same lines, you may face challenges, where you aren’t fighting an enemy, but rather trying to complete a task – a task which will require you to do something specific (for example, putting out a fire may require you to match blue gems, but if you match red gems the fire gets stronger). There are even ways to play the gem-matching aspect when searching for treasure, which will influence what you find!
As you would expect in an RPG, as you advance in levels, the challenges, enemies, and quests get stronger and more difficult. When you gain experience, you can learn new spells, increase your abilities (and you have control over what you increase, which allows for more specialization of the game). Because of this, there is a strong incentive to keep playing, and because your enemies change as well, the gem-swapping side of the game doesn’t get boring either.
The graphics are nice, although my big fat fingers had difficulty at time hitting the portion of the screen to control movement (basically just tapping on a question mark or icon). I was playing on an iPhone, but the universal binary probably looks great on an iPad. One strength of the game was that have a multiplayer mode through Game Center – you can challenge someone to a hero battle or a “versus” game. You can also play locally over wifi or Bluetooth. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try to the multiplayer out because Game Center couldn’t find anyone else to play (it kept searching and searching). So if you want to arrange a multiplayer battle, you will probably have the best chance of doing so if you can find a friend to download the game as well. In addition to the regular (single player) Hero mode, there is also a tournament mode (basically a tournament fight), and a series of mini-games which are basically the different version of the gem-matching.
All in all, this is a great combination RPG/Gem-matching game. It allows for repeated game-play due to the changing nature of your control over the character, and the nature of the challenges. It was great to see multiplayer built in, I just wish I could have tested it out! While I played on an iPhone, this universal binary probably looks great on an iPad, and at $4.99 the price is not too bad. Four out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.