The best way to describe Puzzle Quest II is to say that it’s a cross between a puzzle, chess, and an RPG (role playing game). This game takes the player to a land full of magic, mayhem, and fantasy. A dark and ancient evil has been released and it is up to you to find it and destroy it. You chose a character—male or female—from one of four different classes: assassin, barbarian, sorcerer, and templar. The story is then fitted to compliment the character you chose.
Like in your usual RPG, you roam the countryside looking for trouble, righting wrongs, meeting strange characters and creatures, and all that loveliness. However, what makes this game so different from the other RPG’s is the combat. Normally, you would come across a goblin or troll, unsheathe your weapon, and begin hacking away at each other until someone falls. The Puzzle Quest II is that your battles are played out in a puzzle game. You and your opponent take turns matching three green, red, yellow, blue, and purple gems in a row. Each gem represents a different kind of mana (energy utilized to perform magic). Collect the different forms of mana to execute different moves against your enemies in order to completely deplete their health bar and defeat them. For example, an assassin only needs five blue gems to perform a “sneak attack” and deplete some of his/her opponent’s health bar. However, there needs to be four red gems and three yellow gems gathered to perform a “swift strike.”
Along with the jewels are two other items to collect on the puzzle board: gauntlets and skulls. Collecting the gauntlets allows you to use your weapon independently from a spell or specialty move. For example, if you have a sword, you may choose to use that against your opponent instead of making a move on the puzzle board. The skulls automatically deplete health points from your adversary without having to perform any magic or specialty moves.
The really wonderful thing about Puzzle Quest II is that you must be strategic when you face your opponent in the puzzle match. You must foresee future moves you can implement and as well as moves your challengers can play against you. The only thing you cannot anticipate is the new gems and items that drop from the top of the board after matches are made.
After each battle, you earn items and gold to help you buy and trade weapons, supplies, and other useful substances. Your character can also level up after a certain amount of experience points, which allows you to gain new spells, specialty moves, and attribute points in intelligence, agility, morale, strength, and stamina. Weapons and items can also be upgraded.
Mini games are also a nice touch in Puzzle Quest II. Like the battle sequences, the mini games take place in a puzzle. However, the difference is that the mini games only give you a limited number of turns to overcome your obstacle, such as a barricaded door.
I am a big fan of the first Puzzle Quest game, so I was very excited to see the sequel. The only thing I am not too crazy about is the character’s locomotion. The movements seem stiff, slightly reminiscent of a Sega Genesis game. The artwork is pretty good, but no other characters besides you actually move. They are sedentary, like a barnacle or a polyp.
Overall, Puzzle Quest II will not disappoint. You can find it on practically any gaming console, including the Nintendo DS or the Xbox 360 arcade. You can utilize your brain power and analytical skills while you slay goblins. Good luck and good gaming!