Pin It

The Player 

by Marty Demarest & r & & r & Puzzle Quest & r & Rated Everyone; Nintendo DS, PSP & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & "P & lt;/span & uzzle Quest" is the worst name ever given to a good videogame idea. (And I'm including the word "Wii.") It's not that "Puzzle Quest" isn't descriptive -- it actually names the two things the game features: puzzles and quests. But they aren't quests for puzzles, or quests by puzzles, or even quests with puzzles. The entire game of Puzzle Quest is a quest -- like something from Dungeons & amp; Dragons -- that happens because of the puzzles.

Puzzle Quest's story, which is further titled Challenge of the Warlords, finds me starring as a knight (or wizard, or some other fantasy archetype) in the service of a kingdom that's being invaded by the undead. Like any good questy hero, it's my job to stop the insidious evil before it ruins our peaceful and -- as it looks on the Nintendo DS -- bland-colored fantasy kingdom.

Instead of fighting monsters with the swords and elven arrows that befit the game's setting, I'm fighting monsters by playing a game of Bejeweled. Going head-to-head with a dragon or zombie, I need to play a simple puzzle game in which we take turns flip-flopping colored gems that are laid out in a grid. During each turn, two adjacent gems can be swapped on the grid. If I get three or more of the same color in a row, they disappear.

Ever since Bilbo riddled with Gollum, fantasy monsters have played games by taking polite turns. But as my Puzzle Quest opponents and I match the game's colored gems, we cause damage to each other by scoring points. There are spells that we fling at each other, too, that are powered up by matching different colored gems. A good wizard can match three or four gems and cast a fiery spell at his opponent during the next turn. An excellent wizard will cast a spell that wins the battle entirely.

Substituting puzzle gaming for what is usually tactical combat makes Puzzle Quest a more accessible fantasy adventure for casual players, and the quick battles eliminate some of the tedium that comes with turn-based battles. Moreover, Puzzle Quest allows its heroes to develop like a role-playing game should. As I win battles and collect odd items, my character progresses through the game's story, enlarging and personalizing it until it feels like a genuine quest in a humdrum fantasy kingdom.

THE GOOD: The Good: The magic spells and enchanted items shape Puzzle Quest into a legitimate role-playing game. The game also gives me the chance to make new magic items (by beating puzzles), train different monsters to ride (by beating puzzles) and develop a city so that I can earn gold (to better beat puzzles). For such a puzzle-centric game, there's a lot to do.

THE BAD: Solving puzzles is more generic than swinging a sword, so every battle in Puzzle Quest has the tendency to feel like a quick time-waster, despite the game's relatively deep system of spells and special items. The graphics could have been taken as rejects from old fantasy videogames, and combined with the game's droning music and overmodulated sound-effects, Puzzle Quest feels much less classy than it plays.

THE BOTTOM LINE: With a little more imagination and care, Puzzle Quest could have delivered a unique role-playing adventure to gamers who hate hacking and slashing their way through magic kingdoms.

3/5 Stars

Pin It

Latest in News

Readers also liked…


Comments are closed.

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
AG Bob Ferguson on State vs. Trump

AG Bob Ferguson on State vs. Trump @ Gonzaga University School of Law

Fri., March 24, 12-2 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment


gig economy

green zone


do something

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation