Addictions on the go: Puzzle Quest

Written by Mark Mackay

March 20, 2009 | 11:11

Tags: #addictive #iphone #puzzle #quest #rpg

A few weeks ago I blogged about Fieldrunners on the iPhone. Not only is Fieldrunners an awesome game by any standard, it’s also the first game I’ve ever been truly addicted to on a mobile phone, which I see as a big step forward for gaming.

Today, I’m writing about the second game I’ve been addicted to on my iPhone, Puzzle Quest which is essentially an RPG crossed with Bejewelled.
Much like other RPGs the game starts with choosing a character class such as Warrior or Warlock, selecting an avatar and choosing a name. I’ve only played up to level 11 thus far, but the basic story goes that the realm is under threat by an undead cult and as a son (or daughter) of a Knight of the land, you become part of Queen’s Guard and begin travelling the land in pursuit of the cult.

Addictions on the go: Puzzle Quest Addictions on the go - Puzzle Quest

The world map is huge. So far I’ve opened up ten minor locations and three major cities which span about five per cent of the map. In the cities you can pick up side quests, visit taverns for rumours on what’s going on in town or go shopping for new gear.

The character development system is surprisingly deep, providing many different ways for you to improve your hero. Every time you defeat a foe in the Bejewelled-based combat system you gain experience points (XP) and gold. When you level up you can spend skill points on upping your attributes to make your character more effective in combat and as you work your way through the levels stronger spells get unlocked.

In the main city, Bartonia, you own a citadel which you can spend gold on to upgrade with dungeons, temples and siege towers. Once you have a dungeon for example, you can capture enemies and learn new spells from them which can’t be gained from the standard spells menu. A temple opens another method of improving stats, though at the expense of valuable gold.

Addictions on the go: Puzzle Quest Addictions on the go - Puzzle Quest

The combat system incorporates the RPG elements in a very clever way. As per Bejewelled, matching up different coloured gems in rows of three or more makes them disappear for more to drop into the grid from above. Gems matched up this way give you mana which can then be used to cast your spells. Matching skulls causes direct damage to your enemy, matching gold gives you extra cash and matching the purple stars gives you extra XP.

The mix of clever combat system, character development, gear shopping, pleasing art style and (so far) decent, if a bit clichéd, storyline all culminate to a very addictive game. Puzzle Quest is available on lots of formats including PC and you download it via Steam. You can download a free demo on your iPhone and then chapters one and two will cost just a fiver.
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