The Gems Haunt My Dreams

You’ve played Tetris, right? I sure hope so, because while it’s not the game I want to talk about today, it is integral to the point I want to make. If you haven’t played it, you are dead to me here’s a link. Go ahead, I’ll wait. This blog post will still be here in a day or two.

So, you know that feeling you get when you play Tetris too much, and you start seeing falling tetronimoes even when you close you’re eyes? Well, I’ve found another game that has a very similar effect, and it’s kinda taking over every spare waking moment: Puzzle Quest 2.

What is Puzzle Quest, you may ask? Well, it’s a fantasy RPG, kinda. It’s also a match-3 puzzle game, kinda. It’s a turn-based strategy, kinda. In other words, it’s a weird, unique gamethat has somehow convinced me to take out my Nintendo DS for the first time in a while, and made it really hard to put it down/sleep/be productive.

Here’s how it works: You have a character, one of a selection of fantasy gaming archetypes. You have a board of gems, in a variety of different colors. Matching three of the same color and removes them from the board, à la Bejeweled (no link this time; I’d like someone to be able to finish this post some time this week). This gets you a certain number of points, which are added to a mana pool based on the colors matched. Once you get a certain amount of mana points, you can spend them to perform special attacks and do damage. Because oh yeah: you’re playing against the computer. Did I forget to mention that?

Anyway, these simple additions to the basic “Match Three” formula add a surprising amount of depth. The biggest differences I’ve noticed is that it adds a deeper layer of strategy to the game; sometimes the biggest combo isn’t always the best move if it’s not the color you need. Also, playing against an opponent makes it really hard to set up chains of moves and plan out moves ahead in any sort of manner. Just set up a nice five-piece combo? Too bad, it’s the end of your turn! Now the enemy is going to steal that mana! And it just started a chain reaction that got them five more turns in a row! MWAHAHA!!!1!

Oh yeah, that’s one thing that annoys me: seemingly infinite “extra turns” for the enemy. I have no problem when they happen for me, of course. But to see the goblin rake in mana it can’t even use and take away what seems like half my health bar in the process is aggravating. But I love it when I do it to them…

Anyway, I’m a hypocrite. Let’s move on.

I haven’t gotten very far in the game yet, but it is nothing if not intriguing. If you like Match 3’s, like Hexic or Bejeweled, but want something with a little more variety, I can heartily recommend it. And what’s great about playing it on the DS, is you can pick it up for a few minutes of play time and not feel bad when your time is up. Because you know you’ll be back.

Oh, yes.

You’ll be back.