by Lauren Doster & Sean Hinz
S: So, Lauren and I have become addicted to the Puzzle Quest craze, having both picked up the iPhone version of Chapters 1&2. I myself am not the biggest fan of the Puzzle Game genre, but my recent infatuation with Pop Cap games, combined with an obsession for Role Playing Games; it seemed like a great idea. Sure enough, Puzzle Quest and I, we’re a match made in heaven.
L: Haha, I wouldn’t take that to heart D3 (Puzzle Quest Publisher), he tells me the same thing every time I make him chicken parmesan! All kidding aside, I’m personally a huge fan of puzzle games and Pop Cap. In my opinion, D3 has perfected the model for this genre – short, sweet, easy to pick up, and wonderfully obsessive. I would describe it as Bejeweled meets Balder’s Gate. I don’t see you as a big Bejeweled fan babe, what made you pick this up so quickly?
S: Honestly, it was all the podcast recommendations and rave reviews the game received. Initially, it was tough going trying to understand the complexities behind causing damage, gaining money and XP, and using your spells to control the board and land a “heroic effort”. But after gaining a few levels and maintaining that sweet sense of victory, I could not be stopped. I spent the first twenty levels building up my citadel and razing other cities to generate income. Eventually, settling on a Griffin as my mount, because let’s face it, they’re BAD ASS! Also, I chose a knight as my class, so most of my spells utilized the Purple Stars. What was your specialization again?
L: C’mon baby, you know my affinity for all things magical. Definitely picked the wizard and focused on fire mastery. Initially, I paid little attention to all attributes other than leveling up when prompted. The first few battles were a little confusing. After all, in Bejeweled you are trying to max out a score before running out of moves, not kill an opponent. Once I started to understand the battle system it became much more addictive. A big component of the game is to understand your enemies. Is it better just to unleash on them and get them out of the way as quickly as possible? Or do they have mana based attacks that can be devastating to your character? Both require much different strategies. My only complaint about this game was the level cap at 40. I wasn’t even close to beating it, but felt disengaged after hitting it.
S: Yeah, me too. I plan on revisiting the game with a new class, maybe bumping up the difficulty a little bit to make the levels last longer, but man was I disappointed to see I had capped out about halfway through the game. My issue was probably also related to the massive amount of experience I was getting, since purple stars equal XP and that was the objects I destroyed the most on the board. Also, leveling the mounts was a little unbalanced. In order to level, you must fight your mount in a timed battle, but as they get higher the time is shorter. So much so that by level 15, you only had 3 sec to make a move!
L: I was able to get my mount up to level 20, but at that point my opponents were not killing me, I was killing myself (5 damage done to self for turns > 3 seconds). It got a little out of hand. While you do cap out at 40, you can still use gold to buy skills in your Citadel. I may continue to play and see how high I can max out my wizard. There is also the challenge of capturing more mounts and learning additional spells. I think this was a neat addition to the game, especially when I received Stomp – one that would randomly push down the board, usually having devastating effects on opponents.
S: That had to be the part which added the most replay value. The Citadel allowed not only the capturing and leveling of mounts, but also the capturing of enemies and leveling of individual skills via money. Combined with a weapon creation system, equally as diverse, it does seem like there is potential for your character to become truly powerful. I would highly recommend this game to any iPhone owner and if you are not one, maybe check out Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, PSP or your PC. Would you agree?
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*note: all images are the result of a Google image search