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Magic: The Gathering - Puzzle Quest continues the mixes up the popular Puzzle Quest trend by combining deck building and match three puzzling to form a surprisingly complex twist on a typical formula.
It does quite a good job too, even if it's a little slow and long winded at times.
As is typical of the Puzzle Quest genre, you find yourself matching three or more symbols to gain mana which can then be used to inflict damage or cast spells on enemies. The key here is to line things up so you can invoke combos, causing massive damage at once.
It’s all fairly standard for games of this type, but Magic: The Gathering - Puzzle Quest expands upon it by throwing in deck building.
Each game, you start out with two cards in your hand, with the top card in the deck charged by any mana you generate. The key here is to re-arrange your deck carefully, so that the right cards are charged at the correct point in the match.
It takes a little practice to get used to, and those accustomed to more typical match three will find themselves forgetting about it. It’s a crucial part of success here though, and besides some early levels letting you off easily, you’ll be punished for not planning ahead later on.
You can level up your cards outside of battle - much like how things work in Marvel Puzzle Quest. That means that you can potentially spend as much time tweaking things as you do fighting it out.
You can always choose to pay real money to get the edge, but the satisfaction really comes from doing things the old fashioned way.
The bottom line
Magic: The Gathering - Puzzle Quest is a reasonably entertaining twist on two formats, but it suffers from one crucial issue. It’s slow.
Each time you perform a move, you have to watch an animation unfold, before witnessing your opponent take their turn, and there’s no way to skip these animations, or even speed them up.
Is it enough to put you off? Not entirely, but it certainly takes the shine off an otherwise intriguing and appealing proposition.