Puzzle Quest 2 Preview


Don’t act like you are too good for Xbox Live Arcade games. We both know you spent days on end beating the first Puzzle Quest. Remember that one time? You told me, “Yeah, I’m probably going to play some Halo.” Then I walk in on you playing a puzzle game that looks like a glorified Bejeweled and you give me a sheepish look. Fifteen minutes later we are arguing over the optimal build for the wizard character you created and saving the world of Etheria. Two Puzzle Quest fans were born that night.

Thousands of XBLA downloads and ports to several other platforms later, the world was ready for a sequel. That fateful day finally came on June 30, 2010 (I have it outlined in a heart on my calendar). With the demo queued up, I uncovered the immediate upgrades from PQ1 to PQ2: more than 30 new spells, four new character classes, over a thousand more magic items, and most impressively, good graphics! (See below).

It is really cool to finally see your character in detail; after all, in PQ1 you appeared as little more than a stick figure on the map (See above). My first impression is, “Hey, this reminds me of World of Warcraft” (I am a recovering addict). Your first action is to approach the guard with a golden “!” above his head, signaling an available quest to anyone familiar with this system. After I accept, a golden “?” appears above my goal, which happens to be a rat swarm. How rewarding!

A flashy screen indicates, “Doomsnail VS. Rat Swarm,” which is reminiscent of the pre-fight Street Fighter screen. This is where the puzzle element arises! Create a juxtaposition of 3 identical gems to activate them. Skulls deal damage to your opponent’s hit points and colored gems fill up your mana pool, which you use to cast class-specific spells. Match 4 gems to get a free turn. If you match 5 or more, high-five someone because you are awesome. On a related note, I can check “use the word ‘juxtaposition’ in a sentence” off my bucket list.

After matching up enough skulls to defeat the rat swarm, the guard rewards me with gold, experience, and a new objective. Ah, the comforts of the role-playing game. After walking through the gates, a goblin rubs me the wrong way and I slay him with substantial puzzle-solving flair. Level up! Seeing as I am an assassin, my instincts tell me to assign my attribute point to agility.

Overlooking the obvious moral implications of a child handing out weapons, I take a shortbow as a reward, setting up another new feature of PQ2. In battle, there are new fist-shaped gems that give you action points when destroyed. Remember that shiny new shortbow? Instead of using my turn to match up gems, I elect to spend my action points on shooting the goblin for an epic…3 damage. I’ll work on that.

What’s this? Another new feature? Welcome to Challenges! A fire broke out in the town and I have been tasked to smother it. To extinguish the blaze, I must match blue gems. Matching red gems, however, not only heals the fire but damages me! Another Challenge pops up after I douse the flame, which has me breaking a door down in a limited number of turns.

The demo ends with me beating down sasquatch and a tryst with the mayor’s daughter. Kidding about the second part. Or am I? There are three other classes still to be played (sorcerer, templar, barbarian), multiplayer, leaderboards, and much more to learn about the world outside of tiny Verloren. If by some strange reason you haven’t already, download the demo and check it out!

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  • Brian Heitzenrater (FrehleyzComet)

    Great read! It makes me want to play PQ2 even more!! I seriously need to get on Live tonight so I can play.