Puzzle Quest Review

Puzzle Quest has been out for awhile on PSP and DS and was praised for its seamless amalgamation of puzzle-based gameplay with traditional RPG depth and storytelling. Since I had never played this seemingly fantastic game, I jumped at the chance to review it. After spending hours battling monsters with my Druid, I’ve decided that I really don’t like this 1200 point Microsoft game. Because my viewpoint is of the minority, I thought I might as well get the big editor-in-chief in here to discuss our differing opinions…

Brendon: Obviously I like the game or this would be a pretty boring discussion, and completely pointless.

Kyle: Obviously.

Brendon: I just don’t get how someone can dislike this game as much as you do, Kyle. Especially after playing some of the things you’ve played over the last year.

Kyle: NDA Brendon, NDA. Anyhoo, I don’t understand the infatuation with Puzzle Quest. It’s almost as if people become offended when I tell them "I don’t like this game."

Brendon: It’s just a fun game. Puzzle games are boring for those of us who don’t devote a ton of time playing. (Example A: me vs you in Puzzle Fighter.) This one is easy for newcomers, but also has some strategy for veterans to enjoy. You’ve also got the blending of RPG elements (I give you that it’s a crappy story) making it unlike any other puzzle game out there.

Kyle: You’re right. It is unlike any puzzle game out there and it is easy for newcomers, but what is the point of a puzzle game if it requires little to no skill? I was playing on the Hard difficulty level and the enemies would sometimes defeat me in a matter of minutes. I then switched it to Normal and it was like I enabled "dumb fucking AI" mode where they would sometimes miss a possible 5 in a row skull thingy and instead choose 3 in a row exp.

Brendon: So your complaint then is that on Hard the enemies were too hard and on Normal they’re too easy?

Kyle: Yes. One of many. It wasn’t just that they wouldn’t notice moves that were on the board, but at times, it almost seemed as if the drops they were getting were a little too coincidental. Oh gee, look, 8 in a row, go figure. Stupid harpy.

Brendon: Well I can solve that one for you. The devs admitted they thought of giving the AI the ability to look "into the future" but learned it would be too hard to program, so scrapped it. Can you honestly say you never got some lucky drops?

Kyle: Yeah, I got a few heroic efforts here and there, but that’s the thing, I never felt as if what I was doing required skill. Even in games where I was slaughtering my opponent (poor poor rat), I never felt in control of the match.

Brendon: I’ll give you that, too. A lot of the time it does come down to luck with what drops. But despite that, if you know your spells and play intelligently you’ll beat someone with no experience 9 times out of 10. It’s a game that’s largely dependent on luck, but still rewards smart decision making.

Kyle: So it’s basically like the Tekken of puzzle games.

Brendon: But with a better story, sadly.

Kyle: Oh dear.

(Convo edited for brevity)

While I admit that I may be a little too hard on this game because of the amount of luck involved in the actual gameplay, I still don’t think it’s that great of a game. It really is just a simple amalgamation of two genres. It goes without saying that this amalgamation is going to spawn countless sequels and knock-offs, and hopefully then we will see what this new genre is truly capable of.

Final individual scores:

Kyle: 6.5

Brendon: 8.5

Brendon’s note: The stuff in the box below is 100% Kyle, so I wanted to give a quick reason here to justify my score. While PQ does have issues, it’s still fun. This is the game I grew addicted with, my girlfriend grew addicted with, and Chris Pereira played so much on the DS that the cart broke. Unfortunately, it is the same. Online play changes it a bit, but not being able to take this anywhere (on the bus, out to the park…) makes it less addicting. Maybe that’s good, though. I got sick of seeing the icons everywhere.


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Author: Kyle Stallock View all posts by

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