Puzzle Quest is a unique game because it seamlessly combines two different genres of games. While it is primarily a puzzling/strategy game, it is also backed up by a fantasy storyline like an adventure game. It also does it in a way that is equally appealing to players who play both or just one of these genres.
The object of Puzzle Quest is to save the Kingdom of Etheria from an evil Lord and his schemes. You begin as a novice, but quickly hone your skills as a knight, wizard, etc... to become the best in your class. As you play through the game, you can set up forts in towns and cities to use as a base, add companions to your party who help you fight enemies, and earn gold which you can use to upgrade your armour and weapons.
The actual game play starts out like any other adventure game. You travel across a map of the kingdom, speak to the king, and receive quests. The puzzling aspect comes in during battles. Instead of having a regular fight scene, the screen cuts to a large puzzle board, (See picture 3) that pits you and your foe against each other in a battle of wits.
The puzzle you play is similar to Bejeweled. The object is to match like-coloured gems, gold, or skulls. When you match gold pieces, you keep that amount of gold to use later. When you match skulls, you do damage to your enemy. When you match coloured jewels, you keep that amount of coloured "mana" to use later in the battle. This is where the puzzle and adventure aspects are intertwined the most. Each player has an arsenal of skills or spells that they can use during the puzzle. These are assigned based on what class you are, and what skills you level up throughout the game. The coloured mana you collect during the puzzle is the power needed to cast these spells. Once you have enough of the right colours, you may cast a spell. Spells can do direct damage to your enemy, boost your defense for a short period of time, or manipulate the jewels on the board, making it harder for your enemy to collect the mana he/she needs. When you have sucessfully reduced your enemy's life points to zero, you have won the battle, and you continue on with your adventure.
The adventure storyline does a pretty good job of carrying the game forward, enticing you to play just one more battle. The puzzle aspect is a fun and challenging way to go about battle without any actual fighting or violence involved.
Because of the complete lack of violence, I think this would be an excellent game for parents to give to their older children. It has the adventure storyline, fantasy creatures, and the leveling up aspect that is missing from many children's games, without introducing them to blood etc... too early.
This is also a great game for anyone who likes casual games and puzzles. The added storyline keeps you engaged longer and gives you a reason to keep coming back.
The biggest downfall to this game is its "Multiplayer" mode. Before either of us had played it, my husband and I bought two copies of the game because it was advertised as multiplayer. We thought it would be fun to go through it together. As it turns out, you cannot actually go through the adventure with another player. The only thing you can do with another human, is set up a puzzle and puzzle against each other. This was a big disappointment. So don't be tempted to buy more than one copy. Each person who plays can set up and save their own character on just one copy of the game, and play individually at their own pace. Buying more than one is a waste of money.