Puzzle Quest 2 (XBLA) Review
Title: Puzzle Quest 2
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Developer: Infinite Interactive
Genre: Puzzle RPG
After the success of Puzzle Quest the developers tried a new puzzle type with Galatix. However, where the original game succeeded and was fun, Galatix just seemed bland and repetitive. So, can Puzzle Quest 2 pick up where the original game left off?
The answer is yes in both story and gameplay. The story picks up a few years after the first game, with your hero going on a quest to see what evil has been left behind in the world.
There’s a total of four classes to choose from: assassin, barbarian, sorcerer and templar, with a male and female version of each class. While you can’t change a character’s initial stats, spells or even look, you can at least change their name to give them somewhat of a unique feel.
After choosing your character and getting some backstory for the game, you go to Verloren, the city the game revolves around. Here you initially start your quest by ridding the city of goblins. However, later on you’ll be able to buy items here, upgrade items and accept some side-quests.
The first thing you’ll notice in the game is that it’s no longer an overhead map view. Instead, it’s more of a dungeon crawler that has you going from room to room to battle enemies, do quests, get treasure and more. A map of the dungeon can be pulled up with RB, and will show all quest and side-quests that can be accepted or done in an area.
Other things to note while moving from room to room about are that there are quick travel points to warp between the city and various places in the dungeon. Also, the menu can be accessed using the LB to change equipment and the five spells to use during battles.
The enemies in dungeons don’t respawn, but you also aren’t required to kill all of them. Only the ones in your path, which will be marked by a blue circle around them, are the ones you have to kill. However, to get the loot in a room all enemies have to be killed.
When you finally get into battle, the first thing you’ll notice is that the game is back to the original Bejeweled formula. The board sometimes changes size, depending on the enemy fought, but it’s always the matching three gem formula on a square board. There can also be non-moveable blocks sometimes on the board, but these can be destroyed by matching a red skull next to them.
There are no longer any experience orbs to match on the board. Instead, there are now new Action gems to get that can be used with weapons, shields, poisons or sorcery potions you equip to your character. These items can allow for different ways to attack or do various skills, which really helps add to the strategy players can develop while fighting. Items can also be equipped for armor to give increased defense and other bonuses as well.
After a battle, you still get cash and experience like in the previous game. Leveling up can net you spells at certain levels, along with a point to put in one of five abilities and added health.
Outside of battle, puzzles are used for pretty much everything else. Putting out fires, bashing in doors, looting, picking locks and more are all done with various puzzles with a limited number of turns. I never had a problem with the amount of turns, and most minigames will allow you to get extra turns by matching four or five gems together. Also, you can get added turns by leveling up your Intelligence stat.
All six minigames are also available to play from the main menu to get familiar with them. After selecting which one you want to play, you can then select from five difficulty levels to play them on. The levels just determine how much needs to be cleared before you can win.
Besides the lengthy main quest, there is also a multiplayer mode to face off in. However, like in the first game, I just couldn’t get drawn into it. On Xbox Live, you can use either a random hero or your created hero to face off against another person. I feel like the better multiplayer mode can only be accessed in local multiplayer, though.
Tournament mode allows you and a friend to select four monsters of increasing difficulty to pit against each other. When one monster dies, the next one comes in for a player, while the other player keeps fighting with the same monster and doesn’t regain any health. It was a fun mode to let you experience battle with the numerous monsters in the game and use their abilities.
Graphically, the game looks better than its DS counterpart thanks to HD graphics. It’s nice to actually be able to see your character walk around. Battles also look good, but I did get annoyed after a while of having to see the battle stop and pull away each time the hero or opponent used their weapon. Why this couldn’t just be turned off is a mystery.
The sound is decent in the game and helps to set the mood of the area you’re in, but is really nothing special. It loops around on itself so it can get a bit annoying after a while. It is easy to tune out, though. The only other sound to talk about is the voice of your hero that is occasionally heard to advance the story. It is a nice little addition to draw players in, but you seldom hear the voice during the quest.
For Puzzle Quest fans that got scared away by Galatix, you can finally return to the series. The game has the original puzzle style, with new gems and attacks to use. The new dungeon exploration is fun as well, and offers quite a bit of rooms with various side-quests to pick up. There’re also tons of puzzles here, from battles to looting to opening doors and more, which could be good or bad depending on how many puzzles you want. Overall, Infinite Interactive has done a good job bringing the series back to what made the original such a hit.