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Puzzle Quest 2 review

AT A GLANCE
  • AI is fairer and less lucky
  • Pummel tiles add cool weaponry
  • Attractive isometric map
  • Viewing mana is a pain
  • Navigating the map is clunky
  • Character sound bites are lame

After the giddy heights of the original Puzzle Quest, Infinite Interactive has released ever-lazier rehashes of the same ‘match-three puzzle meets RPG’ idea. But Puzzle Quest 2 is billed as a straight sequel to the first game, so has some of that original spark been rekindled? Kind of…

As this is a sequel any similarities are forgiven. You still play a generic RPG character and you still fulfill quests by matching colored tokens on a grid. As in Galactrix, minigames for treasure-finding, lock-picking and the like now play a part, adding some variety but not cropping up with the numbing regularity they did in the series’ space-based outing. Thankfully, the AI is less unfairly lucky than before, and new ‘pummel’ tiles let you use powerful weapons as well as spells. So what’s the problem?

Well, the aesthetic changes have spoiled things somewhat. The attractive isometric map is clunky to navigate with your pseudo-3D character, and you don’t get a sense of the scale of the game world. A decent script is ruined by lame sound bites for each character, and the revamped top screen makes it harder to see how much mana you’ve collected in battle. Another battle-related gripe is that you now have to pull up a menu to see how much mana you need for each spell, which slows things down a little.

These may sound like minor problems but they’ve made Puzzle Quest feel a bit laborious, which is a shame when the core game has actually been improved. Also, with Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes lighting up our lives, the Quest formula feels a little tired. But we’ll give it an extra point for the inclusion of an evil gelatinous cube.

Jul 20, 2010

More Info

Release date: Jun 30 2010 - Xbox 360
Jun 22 2010 - DS (US)
Jun 30 2010 - Xbox 360
Jul 16 2010 - DS (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, DS
Genre: Puzzle
Published by: D3Publisher of America
Developed by: Infinite Interactive
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Language
PEGI Rating:
12+

3 comments

  • hist - July 20, 2010 7:09 p.m.

    What version of the game is this? Is it a UK version? The one I downloaded on XBLA looks nothing like these screenshots, and doesn't have most of the interface problems that you mention (though the isometric map is still annoying) and the soundbites are lame. I'm actually kind of enjoying the game, though it is getting a bit tedious. I'm playing it in smaller doses right now.
  • TomMishkin - July 20, 2010 6:38 p.m.

    «Well, the aesthetic changes have spoiled things somewhat. The attractive isometric map is clunky to navigate with your pseudo-3D character, and you don’t get a sense of the scale of the game world. A decent script is ruined by lame sound bites for each character, and the revamped top screen makes it harder to see how much mana you’ve collected in battle. Another battle-related gripe is that you now have to pull up a menu to see how much mana you need for each spell, which slows things down a little» My exact thoughts after some hours into the game; only with better writing. In the end, though, I'm ending up WAY more disappointed than you by the game. The generic look of the character and the environments I can surely forgive, though I sorely miss the epic M&M-styled overworld map of the first game. Eliminating town management and cool stuff like the Mage's tower? Not a great idea, but still it makes the game somehow more streamlined and fast-paced, which may appeal to some kind of players, so to each his own I guess. But making the battles clunky and nearly unplayable due to stupid menus and pop-ups and a horrendous graphic restyling? Slowing them down with useless still screens and slug-paced tile movement? That's something I can not forgive, because it took the fun out of playing Puzzle Quest, making it "only" a strategy-oriented match-3 game. The first Puzzle Quest was a lot of things, but mainly it was a blast to play; I never had that much fun with my DS, unless until Clash Of Heroes. Galaxy Quest was just broken. Puzzle Quest 2 is a bland and boring game, and that's really something I wouldn't have expected. Worst disappointment of 2010 so far for me.
  • sam451lovesaynrandtista - July 20, 2010 6:14 p.m.

    Sock it to em Hank! Your finest work yet! In all seriousness though, now I know I won't be buying this game, I hate clunky interface problems. Thanks for the heads up.

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