Sunday, 5 September 2010

Puzzle Quest 2: The Time-Sink Diaries

If you have already played the first Puzzle Quest game, skip this paragraph. For those who haven't, the original Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords blended the 'match-3 of the same thing' game mechanic with the character based RPG system and the result was frankly quite a bit dull but inexplicably addictive to many. The story was barely worth reading and the visuals didn't inspire and at times the game doesn't even seem remotely fair with the very reasonable possibility of losing without having the chance to even swap one pair of the game's millions of gems. This game ate up most of my study time at one stage and I often found myself playing til the late hours without being aware of it. Dangerous stuff. You've been warned.

The word 'Pummel' always makes me chuckle, as does the word 'Yeast'.

The sequel takes this oddly successful formula and smooths out a lot of the kinks. Playing this on Steam I found a large wealth of achievements for those that are into that kind of thing. As for the story, it has been reduced to minimal chit chat to connect quests together and that's all you get, which is a welcome change compared to the reams of uninspired dialogue you were treated to in the previous game. Another nice edition is the change to the weapons and levelling systems which are much simpler (you don't have to worry about percentages this time around) and it's all much more pretty. Rather than there being 'experience gems' on the board to level up with there are now 'action gems' in the form of gauntlets that add an extra layer of strategy. Collected action points can be spent using weapons to attack or other effects such as increased defence from a shield or regaining health from a potion. The combat isn't radically different but fans of the old game will relish the tweaks and twiddles made here.

Everything (everything) is match-3 mayhem (or tedium) from picking locks, bashing down doors and disarming traps, each task bringing with it special rules and strategies whilst all being so disarmingly simple and fun to play and trust me, if the single player doesn't keep you playing for half of forever, the four character classes and tonnes of side quests most certainly will. The online multiplayer will fill up the rest of eternity for you if you are so desperate, and believe me if this game leaves you lacking for a timewaster... you are. On that bombshell, I shall once again assume the form of dread barbarian Jakkus and kill another Polar Bear, send hate mail to the usual address...

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