Short puzzle games have become a smash hit on the Internet, appealing to game players of all ages. Playing off the appeal of puzzle games, Infinite Interactive developed a new cross-breed game entitled Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. We say cross-breed because Puzzle Quest is anything but a simple, short puzzle game as it captures the essence of both puzzle game and role-playing genres.
Set in the Warlords universe, players take on the role of a male or female ?hero? from one of four classes: druid, knight, warrior, or wizard. Ultimately, their goal is to save the land of Etheria from the evil Lord Bane, though many ?battles? will take place along the way. Battles take the form of a ?match-three? style puzzle game where players must swap adjacent colored gems in order to match at least three of the same gems in a row with a single move. To add another level of difficulty, players will be up against a computer or human opponent and will take turns making a move with the goal of defeating them by depleting all their health points. Depending on the type of gem matched, a match might simply add gold to the player?s inventory, increase mana available in the player?s four different mana pools, or even instantly damage an opponent. Make an incorrect match and the player-character takes damage. Even early on in the game, opponents can be very difficult to defeat making the game both addicting and slightly frustrating.
The game?s fantasy story is brought to life not only through text, but also through comic book quality sketches and character drawings. As with much art we see in games, several of the characters, specifically the female ones, show off some cleavage as their tight garments and armor stick to the form of their bodies. Keeping with the story, Puzzle Quest also includes quite a few fantasy additions in its cast of characters including wizards and druids, which players may choose to use during play, along with skeletons, werewolves, zombies and other magical creatures. Spells are also present and exceedingly useful during battles. Spells only take the form of a button players push to use during their turn in battle, but are powered through the collecting of colored gems that provide players with mana. Players may also spend points to upgrade the potency of spells as they level their character and even melee focused characters can find use for magic. Since combat can be difficult, the only way to survive most battles is by collecting gems that turn into mana and using spells to defend and attack an opponent. Since all combat takes place through the use of matching colored gems, the violence level of the game is quite low and includes no blood or gore, with health point loss as the only real way the game conveys that a battle is taking place.
Bridging the gap between casual gamers and the more hardcore players, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords provides a great balance between addictive puzzle gameplay and role-playing through character development and story progression. Since the game can be played in any amount of time the player allots, it is completely possible to fit Puzzle Quest into a busy schedule and since it can be played on the go with the Nintendo DS, PSP, and even a mobile phone, there?s little excuse not to give it a try if puzzle games and RPGs are of any interest.
» By Stephan Mack, Plain Games. Published 1/7/2008 11:30:15 AM.