Puzzle Quest A Go-Go

This isn’t about Valve either. Because you know, games are busy.

Kieron posted a couple of days ago about the freshly confirmed release date for Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, on the 22nd Oct. Turns out their “confirmation” wasn’t enormously accurate, what with the game being on Gamersgate today.

No, it's just uncannily similar to the one in the other post.

It’s a teeny weeny download of only 85.8MB (exactly six Peggles) (don’t believe the 58.94MB (4.12P) lie on the game’s main page), but you do have to jump through the fiery hoops of Gamersgate’s registration, then paying, then downloading their downloader, then downloading the game proper, then installing it. Which doesn’t take long, but blimey.

But hooray! This year’s Trinity of Puzzle Games is complete.

1 Comment

  1. Frosty840 says:

    I got this one on the DS back in the day, having played the PC demo and (obviously) finding no corresponding PC release.
    The *concept* of the game is great; basically, you play the casual game “Bejeweled” against an opponent, gaining magic points to cast spells or causing them direct damage, depending on the combos and chains you set up. Initially, I found the game positively captivating because it appeared to allow me, through careful planning and intelligent play, to outclass and outmanoeuvre my opponents through my own skill, a worryingly rare feature in modern singleplayer gaming, which seems to have entered a phase where the gameplay isn’t actually *meant* to be a challenge anymore, just “fun”.
    In the main portion of the singleplayer game, your character wanders around fighting battles, gaining RPG-style levels from the XP points they gain. Battles consist of two players taking turns to swap the positions of two blocks in a 2D grid. When blocks line up in sets of three or more, those blocks disappear, you get points or deal direct damage depending on the blocks you cleared, and the blocks above fall to fill the empty space, possibly causing a new line of three to be formed and creating a chain of scoring as blocks match, fall and match up new blocks. Blocks continue to appear from the top of the screen after every move, ensuring that the play-grid is filled at all times. Winning is a case of steadily causing damage to the opponent’s HP total until they die. To put that into perspective, you usually start with somewhere in the region of 50-100 HP, and matching up a set of three damage blocks will do 3 points of damage, and damage blocks make up only about 10% of the blocks in play, the rest being blocks that increase your mana totals to fuel your spells. In theory, battles are fairly long affairs, with you and the enemy taking chunks out of each other over a fairly extended period of time. In theory.
    What I found in the DS version of the game was that, based on the level of my character, the game engine would, if I were fighting a high-level opponent, collude with the opponent, feeding in new blocks from the top of the screen so as to cause massive scoring chains each and every move which, in cases of extreme differences in character level, ensured that I lost every battle in between five and ten turns. In an extreme case, I lost a battle in a single turn. To put that into perspective a bit, that meant that there was a combo chain so long that my total of 70 HP was reduced to 0 in 3-point chunks where the stages in the combo that scored that damage made up only 10% of the total links in the combo chain. My maths puts that at something in the order of a 230-long combo, enough to clear the entire screen at least three times. All from swapping the positions of two blocks and relying on random chance from about the second link in the combo chain. The odds against this happening by random chance make the chances of winning the Lottery three draws in a row look like a sure bet in comparison.
    Worse, if you are a number of levels above your opponent, the same ridiculous system starts to work in your favour, and it becomes literally impossible to lose the battles.
    The result of this is that the game become a hugely annoying level grind almost immediately, the game’s unwillingness to even allow you to compete forcing you to play and replay battles until some arbitrary experience points system allows you to progress.

    Now, I’m only complaining about a system I’ve seen in the DS version of the game, and I know from WoW that there’s plenty of you out there that positively thrive on endless, challenge-free XP grinding, so maybe it’s only me that’s even bothered by this, but I certainly can’t see myself playing Puzzle Quest again.