Developer: Transgaming
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 2.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords is hardly a new game. This RPG, featuring a match-3 battle system, has made it to plenty of platforms – consoles, handhelds, and of course, iOS. With Puzzle Quest 2 about to hit iOS in both iPhone and iPad flavors, Transgaming thought it was about time for iPad users to get a native taste of the original Puzzle Quest on their platform, thus Puzzle Quest HD was born.

The gist of Puzzle Quest is that it’s an RPG where you fight an enemy using a variety of spells to cause damage and other effects, where you collect experience points to level up, and gold to buy items, and you travel across the land taking on quests to advance the story. This sounds like a lot of RPGs, yes, but Puzzle Quest’s battles take place on a match-3 board, with gameplay similar to Bejeweled, where you swap gems on a board to make matches of 3 or more. There are 3 types of gems – red, blue, yellow, and green – that give you mana to charge up your spells, gold and purple gems that give you additional gold and XP, and skull gems that do damage to your enemy. You and your opponent share the same board, adding additional strategy to the typical Bejeweled mix.

Puzzle Quest’s use of match-3 gameplay is ingenious, particularly in the way that it isn’t just about making random matches; there’s strategy in the matches you make, from getting extra turns by matching 4 or 5 pieces at once, or aiming for specific color matches to benefit you or hinder your opponent. It makes it feel a lot more involved than the typical match-3 game. As well, the game comes with a very long play time, so you will get your money’s worth out of Puzzle Quest if you keep on playing it. In some ways, it’s almost too long, as you really have to stick with it to even get near the end.

Puzzle Quest’s story, setting, and characters are all comprised of generic fantasy elements, none of which are memorable even after hours and hours of playing. As well, the match-3 gameplay sometimes lends itself to wild swings of luck in battles, and sometimes victory is best achieved by constantly retrying until you win. The interface, particularly with checking item and spell effects outside of battle, is very glitchy and is hard to check without unintentionally equipping the spell or item.

While Puzzle Quest HD is not a new game, and provides nothing new to veterans of the original game in the series (although the 3rd chapter of the game, which was DLC on other platforms, is included here), for newbies to the franchise, this is a great way to get acquainted with one of the best puzzle game adaptations of the last few years. If you haven’t played the game yet, and want an ingenious twist on the traditional puzzle game design, Puzzle Quest HD is well worth checking out.

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