This game is the 'sequel' to Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, and is similar in many ways. The game uses the traditional gem colours (red, yellow, green blue, purple), as well as skulls in a square/rectangular shape, rather than the hexagonal type game board in Puzzle Quest: Galactrix. There are 4 character types available, both as a male and female; Assassin, Barbarian, Sorcerer, Templar.Changes
from the old game:
Gems - There is a new gem type. The action gems, shaped like a fist. Collecting these will allow you to use an item (weapon/potion) to attack or heal. These are not affected by mana drains, unlike other gem types. Gold has been removed from the game board.Mounts
- If you liked the variety of mounts from the prequel, then you will be disappointed. Mounts make no appearance in this game whatsoever.Friends
- Unlike the prequel, friends do not have an in-game effect. In Challenge of the Warlords, some friends allowed an advantage against the undead, or animal type enemies, but in PQ2, friends only give you new spells.Items
- Armours, weapons, potions, amulets. These can all be bought from shops, or won in the 'loot' minigame. They are upgradable and have many difference effects on the battle, ranging from increases in action points, maximum/starting gems, stength, agility, etc. You upgrade these by collecting various items (crystal, ruby, metal, etc) which are also won in 'loot', as well as from winning battles. A fully upgraded item is described as Epic. It should also be mentioned that some items are character specific.Environment
- Whereas the previous game allowed you to venture across many towns across a large map, this game largely focuses on one town, and a large dungeon, which has many levels. The movement within this game is similar to that in Puzzle Chronicles, and is developed by the same people.Enemies
- There are a wide range of enemies, and they all get stronger as you level up. However, unlike Challenge of the Warlords, you cannot capture enemies, or skip battles, and so if an enemy is in your way, you must fight them. As you will be moving through rooms, this can be annoying, but then again, many enemies can be avoided if they are not positioned in the centre of a room.Travel
- Once you have completed a main quest, a portal will appear. This makes it very easy to travel between rooms and floors. This is especially useful when you need to travel back to the main town (Verloren) to upgrade and sell items.Minigames
As you move through the story, you will encounter a variety of minigames. For each of these minigames, there will a limited amount of turns.
Bash! - Used to bash through doors and open chests. When you connect gems, a 'door gem' will appear. Connecting three door gems will decrease the 'health' of the door/chest. Connecting more than 4 of any gems gives extra turns.
Disarm! - This is used to disarm traps, which you will encounter throughout the environment. There are five gem colours, as usual, but they differ in their appearance. There is also skull gems. Connecting skull gems will decrease the amount of 'chances' you have. To complete the minigame, you must match a certain number of each colour gem.
Treasure grab! - This minigame allows the player to collect money, and more importantly, items. Item chests, coloured brown, will appear randomly. Matching these chests will give you items (metal, ruby, etc). If you get a large combo, or match 5 or more gems, gold chests will appear. Matching 3 or more of these chests gives you rare (or better) items, including weapons, armour and amulets. One row disappears for every two turns the player makes, making it increasingly difficult to make matches and combos.
Unlock Spell! - As well as bashing through doors, you can also use spells. For this minigame, each gem will have an associated shape. Some areas need to match a certain gem/shape to unlock the magic gems. Turns are again limited.
Pick! - Some doors/chests can be lock-picked. For this minigame, the bottom row has some specific gems that must be matched to pick the lock. The gems in this minigame match those in Disarm!
Search! - Some rooms inform you that there is a hidden item. To find the item, gems must be matched on a certain amount of squares within the game board. For example, on an 8x8 game board, 40 squares must have a completed match to find the hidden item. The hidden item can be a chest, some gold, a trap or an ambush.
Spells - As in the previous game, some spells can only be learned by matches gems in a specific way. These spells are taught to you by a goblin witch that you find through the game. Whilst most spells are fairly straightforward, there are a few tricky ones, and I will unfortunately need a guide.Achievements
There are 12 achievements for this game, 4 of which are story-related. There are two that are associated with side quests, whilst the others are for matching a certain amount of gems, or winning/losing in a certain situation. Whilst the majority of the achievements can be gained through just playing through the game, some are much more difficult.
Having obtained all of the achievements, I can say that this was the achievement I found the most difficult (despite it's lower TA ratio).
The achievement with the highest TA ratio (currently) is:
The Gate Hacker achievement in Puzzle Quest 2 worth 53 pointsUse the Bash mini-game to destroy every locked gate, door or chest possible!
Is it difficult? No, not really. Just annoying. For this, you must choose bash when given an option to pass doors or open chests [note: you do not need to find every chest/door in the game]. If you choose one of the other options, to pick the lock, or use a spell, you will be required to restart your game for 100% completion.Opinions/Game Review
Okay, so now that I have stated various changes from the first game, I think it is probably sensible to tell you my opinions on the game as a whole. I thought the story was alright, even if a little one dimensional. There are many sidequests that I actually enjoyed more than the main quests, introducing the player to other characters in the game. Gibbins and Crye are decent characters that ask you to complete various tasks, whilst Bram One-Eye supplies the most difficult quests in the entire game. I enjoyed these challenges (even if some were too
I was disappointed with some of the changes mentioned above (mounts/friends), whilst other changes were welcomed. The variety of minigames made the game enjoyable and broke up the constant battles quite nicely. I also liked the addition of Portals to assist in travel. Considering there are no random encounters, unlike the previous game, portals allow for quick access to various areas around the environment.Final Thoughts
I actually enjoyed the Challenge of the Warlords much more than this, but maybe that's just me. It sometimes felt like a chore moving from room to room, defeating enemy after enemy, making little progress. This became easier later in the game once I had acquired better stats, weapons and spells, but it still did feel boring in places. The game is still a great game, and probably rates above most other XBLA games out there.
I suggest that you play Challenge of the Warlords first. If you really liked that game, then play the trial for this, and if all is well for you, purchase.
The game will almost undoubtedly have some DLC, so I may well change my opinion opinion in the future. I also have to go through the game again for the Gate Hacker achievement, so I will have a go with a different character type.