Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords review (PC)
A review of Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords for the PC. Will you be able to overcome the puzzle like battles in order to squash your enemies and the villain that is troubling the land?
- Introduction to Puzzle Quest
- The gameplay basics
- How battles work in Puzzle Quest
- Additional features
Introduction to Puzzle Quest
Puzzle Quest is a rather hard game to define in terms of genre, but it is suitable for the entire family and it's quite casual in nature. The reason it's quite hard to define is because the game has both RPG and puzzle elements. There's also a story and as the battles use both RPG and puzzle elements a lot, it's neither a puzzle or an RPG, but both.
The gameplay basics
As mentioned above, the game has a mixture of puzzle and RPG elements. Due to the RPG elements, this also means that it also has a story and with the game's setting being a fantasy world, expect orcs and the undead to feature in the game alongside dragons.
However, the above also means you'll be embarking on quests and battling monsters along the way. In order to accept quests and battle monsters during the story, you'll have to traverse a map.
Once you reach a location, you can click on it and there'll be a list of available actions such as shop, get quest etc. Choose the 'get quest' option to undertake a quest which have various rewards and will most likely see you battling monsters. The shop option allows you to shop for items of varying strengths that help during battles. With it being partly an RPG, this is important and also thanks to the RPG elements, your character will level up during the game. There are four character classes with their own skills/spells that are earned via levelling. Upon levelling, you'll be able to choose what statistics to level up as well.
There are other aspects, but those'll be dealt with further down.
How battles work in Puzzle Quest
As you can see by looking at the image on the right, the battle interface is a grid with a lot of different coloured icons on it. Here, the objective is to match three or more of a given type/colour for various benefits.
Red, blue, green and yellow circles will grant mana which enable you to use various abilities that can change the course of the battle or at least give the upper hand. The skulls deal damage to your health bar or to the enemy's, depending on whose turn it is. The gold coins give gold, which can be used to buy items, amongst other things. The purple star grants experience points. When three or more of a type have been matched, those symbols will be removed and they'll be replaced randomly from the top, with the ones above the replaced icons dropping down a level on the grid. You match the icons themselves by choosing one to move up, down, left or right by one place. For example, if there are two skulls on the screen with a red circle in the middle (and a skull one place to the right), you could swap the skull with the circle.
If there are no moves left, the entire board is wiped clean and all of your mana is drained (alongside the enemy's). This gives a new board to play with.
Should a battle be lost, the game doesn't penalise and you can always retry the battle. You even retain any experience points or gold earned during the lost battle. The only downside is that if a battle's very tough, you won't be able to progress in that particular quest until the battle is beaten.
In addition to levelling up your character and buying items to aid in battle, there is also the citadel screen you can visit which is accessed from the character's home city. This enables you to build various structures that open up extra mini-games. For example, build a dungeon and you'll be able to capture enemies after beating that enemy type three or more times. In order to capture them, you need play a mini-game (another puzzle) and once they're captured, you can learn their abilities provided the relevant structure is built. You can even forge your own magical items by gathering runes when the correct building is built, amongst other things.
One of the great features though is the ability to capture towns/cities on the map which can then produce income for your character.
There is also the option to battle enemies in one-off battles outside of the story mode and you can choose what creature you fight, alongside whether their level scales to yours or not. Any gold, experience points etc. earned can then be transferred to the story mode. It's handy if you find that an enemy during a quest is too strong.
Of course, there's also the multiplayer mode, where you can battle against others. Admittedly, I've not tried that mode however.
It's a good game, suitable for the entire family to play and it will last people quite a while. Considering it's quite cheap to buy, it's great value for money. There's plenty of depth to the battle and character development systems as well, though it should be noted that the game can get repetitive at times due to there being a lot of puzzles/battles.
The graphics themselves are nice enough, but not great. It's handy for people with computers that aren't top of the line. In fact, the system requirements are quite low in all honesty.