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    jp's Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (DS)

    [November 12, 2007 03:08:53 PM]
    Yay, I won! :-)

    The final battle (which took me a few attempts to win) was surprisingly underwhelming. In this case, underwhelming isn't a terribly bad thing, because I think I have some sense of why. To put it simply, the final fight isn't really climactic thanks to the (great) flexibility afforded by the design of this game. This game is basically a great example of a game that provides a great deal of choice, flexibility and freedom to the player but pays the cost in its pacing. I think the designers made the correct choice here (favor player choice) due to the hardware platform (mobile) and the "type" of game (simple puzzle). In other words, this is a great game to pick up, play, put down, pick up again, etc. It's easy to know what you were doing, where you're at, and what you still need to do.

    Despite the fact that I was starting to get a bit bored (having found a powerful combination of spells and powers that allowed me to beat opponents with relative ease) I surprised myself by playing a few more rounds just to wrap up some of the sidequests. I wanted to see what happened... :-)
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    [October 24, 2007 09:52:37 PM]
    I think I'm somewhat close to the end of the game. At least the last chapter.

    Things are starting to get tiresome in the way that many RPGs do. Basically, I've found a nice "combo" that allows me to win fights with relative ease by dealing massive amounts of damage to my opponents. I have a special item that gives me a linearly increasing damage bonus (+1 every 5 of my levels..), another that gives me +2, and I use a fireball spell to take out lots of skulls at once (doing damage to my opponent). Thanks to the combination of items and powers, I can easily pull of 40 pts of damage per fireball. Basically, once I'm loaded up on mana to cast the fireballs...the fights are over in 3-4 turns. Not much fun really. I've tried experimenting with other items and spells...but it isn't really appealing. It's almost like these games are hardwired to force you into optimizing your stats/abilities when you play. If you're not maxxing out on damage or something, you're a chump.

    For now, I think I'll concentrate on the main quest missions only just to get this over soon..before I really get bored.
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    [October 15, 2007 10:09:37 PM]
    I've become a much better player now that I've started to figure some things out. I actually win most of my battles now! :-)

    However, there is one little detail which bugs me to no end. It just doesn't make sense to me! You see, there is an option where you can lay Siege to a city (you play a special puzzle-battle). If you win, that city is now "yours" and every now and then, whenever you pass through, you get paid some money. Money is nice.

    The detail which bugs me is that I have no idea why I'm laying siege to all these cities, especially when so many of them are "friendly" (allies and whatnot). Laying siege to a city is a pretty bloody affair and initially I resisted doing it all because I viewed it as a "not nice" kind of action. (ie, I should only siege orc cities, or general "bad guys"). I've since noticed that it doesn't seem to matter, except for the money you get. In effect, it's in your best interest to lay siege to all the cities you find, since that way you can quickly hoard some cash.
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    [October 6, 2007 08:12:03 PM]
    I have heard lots of great comments about this game (in person from Warrent Spector no less!) and I was wondering why all the fuss. Ok, you take Bejeweled and add some RPG elements to it. Sounds neat, but nothing to get all that excited about.

    Having played about 8 hours I can say that there is a lot to get excited about, but not what I had originally thought about. I think that Puzzle Quest introduces enough (minor?) changes to a "standard" formula (match-3 tile games) that the gameplay experience is COMPLETELY different...and it's taken me a while to wrap my head around the implications of these differences. I've only just "figured it out" and can play without losing 4 of every 5 battles!

    So, what did the designers do that made this such a different game (for me)? Namely one little thing: make your gameplay choices more meaningful. When I first started playing, I was in the "usual" mode of just trying to find matches. Any match was fine. Matching 4 or 5 is better than 3, but three's ok.

    Big mistake.

    Now, I look at the board and I have to think for a while because if I see two matches, I need to carefully think about which one I'll pick, or if I'll choose not to pick any! (yes, a new choice!). There are 3 reasons why choices are more meaningful now:

    1. The gems you match add something to your character (experience, cash, or mana used to cast spells). So, picking between a red match and a coin match is about deciding whether you need the red mana more than the cash.

    2. Your opponent plays on the same board you do. So, the results of your actions might offer opportunities for your enemy to hurt you (ie, now he can match 3 skulls which does damage to you). I've often had to avoid making "obvious" moves because I've realized that then my opponent will have a very advantageous situation which he will exploit to harm me.

    3. If you have enough mana, you can choose NOT to match. (and cast a spell instead). This is really important when you realize that you don't have any moves that won't result in your opponent doing something nasty.

    The second reason is by far the most important to me. It changes the game from one that can be played "mindlessly" to one that requires some (minor) effort of strategy.

    Yes, I'm loving it so far!
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    jp's Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (DS)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Monday 1 October, 2007

    GameLog closed on: Monday 12 November, 2007

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    The little twists and differences make this game so compelling it's almost unbelievable. Yes it's fun. Yes, it is interesting. Yes, you should play it.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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