Posted by Female Gamers on Jan 14, 2010
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords – Review

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords – Review

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Undoubtedly many gamers won’t keep themselves restricted to a certain game genre and will always try to expand their interest towards all types of games. Certainly you’ve got preferences and in my case Puzzle and Role Playing Games are on top of my “game genre list”. When Puzzle Quest, the game that is categorized as a mixed Puzzle / RPG game, was released on the Nintendo DS it was an absolute “must have” for myself, but how about you?

Some game concepts are copied from movies, books or other videogames. Some developers even try to combine certain genres into one game to reach a broader audience or provide a more varied gameplay. Role Playing Games already contain a lot of different activities such as fighting, puzzling, racing, exploring, but never was the sense of combining genres as strong as it is with Puzzle Quest. As Cooking Mama would suggest; take a big bowl and mix a traditional puzzle game such as “Bejeweled”, role-playing elements and a persistent storyline together to create a masterpiece.

Enter the world of Etheria, a land quickly becoming over-run with evil. Help protect the kingdom of Bartonia from the undead invasion and seek out the source of these vile creatures to ensure the safety of your countrymen. Battle the enemies standing in your way by defeating them on the battle grid (aka puzzle field). Travel the world gathering and completing quests, helping the helpless, defending the defenseless and befriending the friendless to gather strength against the evil forces plaguing the land. Are you the chosen one to save the world of Etheria from evil by engaging lots of battles fought by means of competitive, head-to-head “match-a-minimum-of-three” style puzzle games?

When starting your quest adventure it’s necessary to choose a character with one of the four available professions; druid, knight, warrior or wizard. Each class has two female and male characters and be wise choosing which class as it influences the character’s strength or abilities during the game. A warrior for example is stronger in battles than a mage, but a mage’s ability to cast spells is stronger than a knights. After the character / class selection, step into an adventure that takes you to odd places, meet strange but also powerful citizens, and different kinds of enemies. By crossing varied locations, you’ll certainly get involved in the battles / puzzles. The Battle Grid is the main part of the game and is cause for some highly addictive gameplay.

The battle Grid is an 8 x 8 grid that holds blue, green, red, yellow mana gems, skulls, +5 skulls, stars, golden coins and wild cards. The battle takes place by connecting 3, 4 or 5 of these items in order to gain specific effects from them. Connecting mana gems will give your character mana of the matched colors which can be used to casts spells, skulls and +5 skulls connections does direct damage to your opponent, connecting stars increases your character’s experience points used towards gaining new levels, coin connections add money to your inventory and wild cards multiply the colored gems they’re combined with. After each successful match of items, they’ll disappear from the grid and all of the gems above fall down to replace the empty spaces. If you’re lucky or act with a strategy in mind extra connections are created and even extra turns become available!

Each battle participant has a certain amount of health points which needs to be reduced to zero to either lose or win the battles. Victory advances a player’s customizable character, magical arsenal, creature companions and more. It’s a rewarding and addictive gameplay experience, especially when hearing and reading that you’re victorious each time an enemy is defeated. Level your character when enough experience is gained and wear the proper clothes and equipment to stand strong in battles. Knights and warriors should be equipped with a good weapon for attack but a wizard uses the spells wisely in proportion to the gained mana; no mana, no spells to deal damage or to protect your character. A useful addition is to gain control over a creature by clearing the Battle Grid completely in the capture puzzle. The creature can be essential for the story and gives you the ability to use new spells.

An extra feature to earn some extra gold (which is tradable to level up) is to siege cities. The city can become yours by winning the battle on the battle grid and each time visiting it from that point on is profitable. In the beginning you start with your own citadel with varied buildings such as a dungeon to capture and hold enemies, the mage tower to learn spells from the captured enemies and a stable to train mounts that your character can ride on. Not that you’re going to move faster over the land but it provides an extra spell in battle. Many more buildings need to be built as soon as possible to take full advantage of the gameplay.

From a female point of view it’s quite remarkable to see that a lot of strong female characters participate and I’m not just talking about my character, a famous female wizard. When starting the game you can choose one of the eight available female characters, each with their own profession (druid, knight, warrior or wizard). While exploring the realms you’re going to meet Queen Titania, Queen Gwendholyn of Bartonia, Princess Serephine and the list goes on and on! Most of us girls enjoy spending some quality time on a good puzzle game and it would be a shame if you didn’t give this one a chance.

As you may have noticed, I’ve used the word “addictive” a couple of times in this review and this stands for a positive warning! While having the intention to play only for a couple of minutes to kill time, a couple of hours later you’re still playing. This review could have been written and published much earlier, if the game hadn’t been so addictive while testing / playing it. Time went by without even noticing it! The story and characters are humorous but the battles are the main driven factor … okay one more time … ADDICTIVE factor in this game. Whether you’re victorious or beaten, both are motivations to keep on playing. The puzzles seem easy but with the variety of enemies and spells, it can become a real puzzle battle! Not only can you play against the characters or siege cities but it’s also possible to battle your friends in a multiplayer game that pits your character against theirs, allowing you to use everything that you’ve learned and gained on your quests to your advantage. Conclusion: Puzzle Quest is a challenging, rewarding and time consuming game with a remarkable mix of puzzle and role playing gameplay.

Review by Wencke
Thumb Bandits European Correspondent & manager of GGU.

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