Angry Robot

Puzzle Quest

I’m in the process of trying out a boatload of DS games, so you’ll be hearing a fair bit about that. Or not, I guess. I mean, you could come back in september when there are actually games out for the 360 and whatever other consoles exist.

Puzzle Quest, which I read about a few months ago on Penny Arcade, turns out to be total crack cocaine. There are two weak spots in my brain, one which is succeptible to the character- and skill-building aspects of RPGs, and the other that, once it begins thinking about strategy and/or unsolved problems, is unable to stop. There is another part of my brain that revels in long narrative arcs, although I consider that a strength. So all of them together… How can you not love a game in which you puzzle battle against orcs and trolls?

The puzzles are like bejeweled, and involve different coloured jewels that signify different types of mana, skulls which inflict damage upon your opponent, and coins and little purple things that give you gold and experience, respectively. By collecting mana, you can then cast spells – spells that depend on your character type and level. You can also capture opponents but to do so, you need to play a different sort of puzzle game. And you can then learn spells from your prisoners, but that too requires you complete a different puzzle. Basically all the usual RPG elements are there, but other than moving around the map, speaking to characters, and buying things from the stores, the gameplay has been replaced with puzzles.

I was speaking with someone and realized that my brain was trying to figure out if it could shift their nose up between their eyes to form a three-in-a-row. Yeah, I know that makes me sound like a lunatic. Basically, at this point, if there was a restaurant that required you to solve a puzzle in order to order food, I would be there battle puzzlin’ that shit.

There’s a lot to be said about the casual vs. hardcore opposition and where this game sits in relation to that, but I’ll save it for the podcast, which we’ll be doing this week.