Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Played Lately: Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

  • Three years ago, in March of 2007, I first read about Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords on Penny Arcade. Described as an RPG crossed with Bejeweled, it sounded like a great mix of casual and hardcore gaming. Thirty eight months after buying the game for my Nintendo DS, I have finally completed the main campaign.

  • PQ was exactly what I was looking for in a puzzle game: something I could pick up and play for a few minutes, then not look at it again for 45 days. Okay, maybe that's not how it wants you to play, but it worked just fine doing that. With a standard RPG, if you come back after so long a break, you're better off starting over. That was never an issue here.

  • What was an issue was how unfair the puzzle fights felt at times. I would choose my little three gem combo and count myself lucky to have any options at all. Then the opponent would run several four gem combos in a row (since each grants an extra turn) and have several three skull combos drop whole onto the board. I can't accuse the game of cheating per se, because I usually won most battles anyway. It just felt terribly unfair.

  • Just as amusing to me was the hint arrow that comes up. If you take to long to make a move, the arrow pops up to point out an option you not see. Several times, I noticed that making that move would set the AI up to either damage me or get a multiple gem combo again. Again, I can't say that it was cheating, but I learned never to assume the arrow was there to help me.

  • I'm glad I played this on the DS. The portability and persistence helped a lot. I also purchased it through Steam, but lost my save game every time I switched computers. Bah. I found it amusing that Puzzle Quest 2 was recently announced. I finished just in time.

© 2010 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. Puzzle Quest has been on my radar for a while, been meaning to pick it up. I didn't realize the computer used 'sploits!

  2. @ Yeebo - It's a fun little game. I suspect playing against the AI is like playing chess against IBM's Big Blue. It can see all of the potential moves while you're just moving gems.

  3. I have three copies: on my PSP, on my computer, and on XBox Live. It's really fun, and I've still never beat it. :^(

    The PSP version has a bug where your companions don't give you bonuses. Nor did it have the awesome update that the XBox Live version got, with more classes and another, shorter campaign.

    I'm glad to hear they're making a second, but the space version of their game was a terribly not fun.

  4. @ Adventurer Historian - I read about that bug. Sounds stupid. I forgot to mention this in the post, but for some reason the first battle after you turned on the DS was always set to the same board. So strange.