Puzzle Quest 2 grabs your attention then breaks your heart with broken IAP
Gameplay (Max 4)3.5
Graphics (Max 2.5)2
Sound (Max 1.5)1.5
Content (Max 2)0.5
Mary-Anne Lee | On October 15, 2013 at 5:30 pm
This puzzle RPG from Namco Bandai promised a lot but delivered very little. Here’s why.
Puzzle Quest 2 is set to the backdrop of an ancient evil awakening and threatening the land. After picking one of four classes – Assassin, Templar, Barbarian, Sorcerer – you’re treated to a dramatic introduction, individually voiced for each class and gender, before being dropped in front of Veloren Village.
This is the introduction of Puzzle Quest 2, and what an introduction it is. Modelled after proper RPGs, where stories, settings, and characters actually matter, the village of Veloren teaches you everything you need to know about the game.
Interacting with NPCs involves tapping on them and selecting their quest. NPCs with available quests have the ubiquitous yellow question mark over their heads; those with a silver exclamation mark had sidequests. In spite of _Puzzle Quest 2_being a mobile game, all of its NPCs come with their own voices, albeit in phrases instead of full dialogue, because no one really cares about NPCs!
Combat is the heart and soul of Puzzle Quest 2, though. Without it there would be no game! Players are transported to the puzzle grid whenever they enter a battle. This puzzle grid is filled with coloured gems, skulls, and black gauntleted fists, which you have to match in rows of threes or fours. Matching gems gives you the power you need to cast spells, matching gauntlets gives you energy to do physical attacks, and matching skulls damages the enemy outright. The battle-style is pretty similar to Puzzle and Dragons and Tower of Saviors.
Some enemies in the game require different treatments. For instance, bringing down a locked door was also considered a fight, but you have to match up icons of the door itself in order to bash it down. Putting out a fire was also a fight, where blue gems doused the flames but red gems built it back up.
With a good game design and so much care put into the RPG side of things, Puzzle Quest 2 looked set to envelop me, but things came to an abrupt halt when I tried to exit Veloren and was told to pick up the full copy of the game. That was the first heartbreak. Puzzle Quest 2 is available on the App Store only as a free game, and its description does not tell you that you have to make a purchase to play the full version.
The second heartbreak came when I actually sucked it up and hit the buy button. The in-app-purchase (IAP) doesn’t work. You have the option of purchasing individual ‘campaigns’ for the class you picked, or buying the whole game (which includes all class campaigns) but whenever I hit the buy button, my choice was deselected. Way to go, Namco Bandai!
And so my brief sojourn with Puzzle Quest 2 came to an end. I shouldn’t have expected a free-to-play mobile app anyway, seeing as how the game is actually available for the Nintendo DS and the XBox Live Arcade.