Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords is a videogame available on most current consoles/handhelds. There are versions available for Nintendo's DS and Wii, Sony's PSP, PS2, and PS3, Microsoft's XBLA, Apples iPhone, and the PC through various digital retailers such as Steam/Big Fish Games, and a retail package available from THQ's Valusoft range.It was developed by Infinite Interactive and published by D3Publisher.
It is a combination of Match-3 puzzle gameplay with the story and inventory management of a more traditional RPG.
Puzzle Quest sold so well that it spawned two sequels, Puzzle Quest 2 and Puzzle Quest Galactrix, as well as Puzzle Kingdoms, which does not have the Puzzle Quest name, but was developed by Infinite Interactive, and Neopets Puzzle Adventure, also made by Infinite Interactive.
The story of Puzzle Quest is based in the Warlords game universe. Players assume the role of a character with various statistics such as combat ability, morale, and magical affinity. A character's predisposition toward individual attributes and spells is determined by the selection of one of four professions at the start of the game. During play, the player takes on quests as part of the main storyline, as well as accepting side quests in order to gain items, experience and gold. Gold can be used to buy equipment that offers bonuses in combat, or it can be used to build up a citadel that unlocks additional content and customization for the character.
The game uses a simple map, and as players accept quests, new towns, cities, and other points of interest appear as available destinations. Each location is connected together by roads, and foes periodically appear between locations, blocking movement until they are defeated. Key quest locations are also marked on the map, and completing quests typically involves visiting such locations in order to defeat one or more opponents in one-on-one battles.
The combat screen in Puzzle Quest with the player (left) facing against a computer opponent (right). Image is from the Xbox Live Arcade version of the game.Combat in the title is conducted entirely via turn-based puzzle action similar to Bejeweled or Zoo Keeper. The player and the computer-controlled opponent take turns swapping the position of two horizontally or vertically adjacent tiles on a grid to make a row or column of at least 3 like tiles; these tiles are removed with various effects as listed below, and all tiles above them fall to fill in the spaces, with new tiles created at the top of the board. If, by this action, a new row or column of three or more like tiles is formed, this is also removed and the chain can continue indefinitely. An extremely long chain can earn the player additional bonuses.
Once either the player or computer opponent runs out of life, the battle is over. Most battles can be re-fought if the player loses, although only those which are part of the main quest need be completed in order to advance the game plot.
As players gain mana, they can opt to cast a spell instead of swapping tiles, but only if they have enough of the appropriately colored mana. Spell effects include direct offensive damage to the other player, defensive spells, ones that affect certain tiles on the board, ones that make the other player skip a turn, and many more. Certain spells are more powerful, but require more mana. Additionally, in the PC, Playstation 2, Xbox 360, iPhone, and Wii ports, certain spells have a "cool-off" time before they can be cast again. Players select which spells to bring into a battle ahead of time, and may only cast spells from this limited repertoire. A player may also have an "extra" spell provided by a monster that they have captured and used as a mount. This "mount" spell is only filled when a mount is used, and is not available to hold another spell if no mount is used.
Computerized opponents can also cast spells during their turn, with the available spells depending on the type of foe. For example, a fire elemental opponent might specialize in spells which make heavy use of red mana. Players can use this knowledge to try and plan their own strategy, e.g., attempting to deny access to chains of gems of a given color.
Spells also are associated with one or more of the four elements of mana - air, earth, water, and fire. Equipment, abilities, and spells used by both the player and his/her opponents can provide resistance to one or more of these elements. This is expressed as a percentage chance that a spell that uses the color of that mana failing when an opponent uses it. As most spells use more than one color of mana, resistances can have wide-ranging effects.
The main character receives companions during the game. These companions provide various bonuses in battle, such as damaging enemies or providing bonuses to the main character's attributes. Some companions are fixed to join the player as the game progresses, while others may be obtained via choices that the player makes. The presence of certain Companions unlock various subplots and extra quests. Companions may also be left behind and picked up again at specific locations, as well as leave the player permanently due to conflicting interests. Companions may interact with each other in subplots.
With the money earned from combat and questing, players can either purchase items to provide benefits in battle, or can spend the money to build up their citadel. With an appropriately augmented citadel, players can "capture" enemies they've defeated multiple times in order to learn spells from them, store & train mounts and receive various other benefits. In many cases, actions at the citadel require completing a single-player challenge based on modified game rules. For example, to forge a new item, the player must clear at least one "hammer and anvil" symbol from the board by either matching at least 3 of them in a row or column, or having one in a row or column of a 4 or 5-length match, before the board has no more legal moves.
Once the citadel has received certain upgrades, gold can also be spent at the citadel in order to directly improve player statistics (through training). The cost for such training increases as the current value of the statistic increases.
A player's citadel is initially accessible only from a single city, but players can gain access to the citadel screen from other cities by successfully laying siege to these locations. After defeating the city itself in combat, the city is captured and citadel management becomes available from the new location.
A side-by-side comparison of the DS and PSP versions by Kotaku noted that the PSP version has a much more challenging artificial intelligence along with a larger screen and more in-game effects. However, the PSP version also has a bug relating to in-game companions that is not present in the DS version; the companions' stated special abilities do not work. While game designer Steve Fawkner has acknowledged this bug, he claims that only Vicious Cycle, the port developer, has the ability to produce a patch. No patch or fix has been announced.
Xbox Live releaseEdit
In addition to releases for the PlayStation 2 and Wii consoles, the game was ported to Xbox Live Arcade, using the service's built-in networking to allow players to compete online similar to the player matches available in the DS and PSP versions.
An expansion for the game, Revenge of the Plague Lord, was released on July 23, 2008 for the Xbox Live Arcade and was included in the October 9, 2008 release on the PlayStation Network. It was also released as a free update for the iPhone OS version. The expansion features 4 new character classes (Bard, Rogue, Ranger and Warlock), and an expansive new area on the Southern Map containing more than 25 challenging quests, 50 new spells, 40 new magical items and new monsters to combat, as part of the story of Antharg, the Lord of Plague and brother to Lord Bane.
Puzzle Quest was a giant surprise hit, receiving positive reviews from the gaming community. IGN stated that the PSP version of the game, "managed to combine the best aspects of both [puzzle and RPG] genres into one nice little package." Hyper's Maurice Branscombe commends the game for being a "fantastic puzzle game, mixed with simple, yet compelling, RPG elements". However, he criticises it for having a "cookie cutter RPG story".
MTV Networks' GameTrailers awarded Puzzle Quest the title of "Best Puzzle/Parlor Game" of 2007. Future's Next Generation online ranked it as the 17th best game released in 2007. GameSpy awarded it "Best Xbox Live Arcade Game" of 2007. The Xbox Live Arcade version was listed as the 6th best title of all time for that platform by the IGN staff in a September 2010 compilation.
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- ^ "IGN: Puzzle Quest: Chapter 1 -- Battle of Gruulkar". http://wireless.ign.com/objects/142/14284978.html. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
- ^ Gamerscore Blog
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- ^ "Puzzle Quest Now Available for iPhone, iPod Touch". 2008-12-29. http://blog.wired.com/games/2008/12/puzzle-quest-no.html. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
- ^ "Puzzle Quest To Get Free Web Game Tie-In". 2007-11-16. http://www.kotaku.com.au/games/2007/11/puzzle_quest_to_get_free_web_game_tie-in.html. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- ^ "Puzzle Quest Sequel This Year". 2008-02-08. http://kotaku.com/354205/puzzle-quest-sequel-this-year. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- ^ "GDC '08: Puzzle Quest: Galactrix First Look". 2008-02-22. http://www.gamespot.com/ds/puzzle/galactrix/news.html?page=1&sid=6186597. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- ^ "Kotaku - Puzzle Quest: DS versus PSP". 2007-03-27. http://kotaku.com/gaming/puzzle-quest/puzzle-quest-ds-versus-psp-247365.php. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- ^ "PSP version of Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords ability bug". 2007-03-22. http://pspupdates.qj.net/PSP-version-of-Puzzle-Quest-Challenge-of-the-Warlords-ability-bug/pg/49/aid/87048. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- ^ "Bug in PSP version?1st Companion special ability not working". 2007-03-22. http://forums.infinite-interactive.com/showthread.php?t=138. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- ^ "PUZZLE QUEST: CHALLENGE OF THE WARLORDS EXPANSION PACK NAME REVEALED!". D3 Publisher. http://www.puzzle-quest.com/popup.html. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- ^ "Search Results from Metacritic.com". http://www.metacritic.com/search/process?sort=relevance&termType=all&ts=puzzle+quest+challenge+warlords&ty=3&x=0&y=0.
- ^ "IGN: Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords Review". 2008-03-29. http://psp.ign.com/articles/777/777130p1.html. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- ^ Branscombe, Maurice (August 2007). "Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords". Hyper (Next Media) (166): 65. ISSN 1320-7458.
- ^ "GameTrailers Game of the Year Awards 2007: Best Puzzle/Parlor Game". 2007-12-26. http://www.gametrailers.com/player/29222.html. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- ^ "Next-Gen's Best 30 Games of 2007 (Page 3)". 2007-12-16. http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8357&Itemid=2&limit=1&limitstart=2. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- ^ "Best XBLA Game - Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords". http://goty.gamespy.com/2007/special/2.html. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- ^ "The Top 25 Xbox Live Arcade Games". IGN. 2010-09-16. http://xboxlive.ign.com/articles/112/1120887p1.html. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
From the "Gameplay" section down was taken from Wikipedia.