Puzzle Quest II

Dominic Sacco

Puzzle Quest II

THE DS IS HOME to a range of addictive puzzlers, but none are quite like the RPG hybrid Puzzle Quest 2.

Originally a PSP and DS title, Puzzle Quest went on to hit Xbox 360, Wii, PC, PS3 and even iPhone following its rise in popularity. The title received a number of awards in 2007 including GameTrailers’ Best Puzzle/Parlour Game and GameSpy’s Best Xbox Live Arcade Game.

Now Namco Bandai is returning to the franchise once more, with a direct sequel for DS arriving in UK retailers.

Puzzle Quest 2 continues the successful blend of puzzle-based and RPG gameplay established in the original, and adds a number of features to attract fans, new and old.

“Puzzle Quest has proved popular with both core and casual gamers,” says Namco Bandai’s UK product manager Marlene Fitzsimmons. “Puzzle Quest 2 offers the fanbase an even more immersive fantasy universe, the same supreme puzzle-RPG experience and a new deeper adventure.

“It’s an award-winning franchise with numerous accolades and Puzzle Quest 2 continues to be a highly anticipated title in our 2010 line-up.”

STAT ATTACKS

Like the first title, players begin by selecting a character class to develop – this time either a sorcerer, templar, barbarian or an assassin. Each hero boasts specific class mechanics and attacks, with the ability to learn new moves as they level up, providing strong replay value.

As gamers navigate across Puzzle Quest 2’s epic fantasy world, enemies appear and fights break out. To win, the player must play a puzzle game and match three gems of the same colour to remove them. As they do so, their mana and strength levels increase – and these can be used to attack their opponents. It’s a stat heavy turn-based Final Fantasy meets Bejeweled, which is certainly no bad thing. Puzzle Quest 2 even adds a couple of new gem colours to keep gamers on their toes.

Fitzsimmons adds: “Puzzle Quest 2 offers the same hallmark blend of puzzle gameplay and fantasy action, building on the original’s successful elements to make the game bigger and better.

“The same great characters appear in an even deeper fantasy universe along with a puzzle board that features more active elements and never seen before spells.”

Another new addition is the change in viewpoint. Where Puzzle Quest allowed players to move across a map in basic point A to point B fashion, Puzzle Quest 2 adds close-up environments to explore. Users can now choose the enemies they want to fight before engaging in a puzzle.

As well as the single-player story, there are tournament, multiplayer and instant action modes for a variety of gameplay experiences.

For the first time Puzzle Quest fans are also able to swing weapons with both hands, use sidekicks to access unique spells, equip shields and take part in mini-games such as picking locks.

PLAYING THE MARKET

Namco Bandai is targeting a range of gamers with a Puzzle Quest 2 marketing campaign for maximum exposure.

“Puzzle Quest 2 is primarily targeted towards core RPG and puzzle gamers,” says Fitzsimmons.

“Although the pick up and play nature of the game also appeals to casual puzzle fans. We are targeting both audiences through a focused marketing and PR campaign across online and social networking sites encouraging fans to play the demo.”

Puzzle Quest 2 is released for DS on July 16th.

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