If Puzzle Quest 2 on iOS devices is any indication, serious and lengthy role-playing titles can thrive on Apple’s platforms. While Puzzle Quest 2 is also available on Xbox Live and the Nintendo DS, the iDevices are extremely well suited to its gameplay. Selecting and sliding gems with a flick of a finger is much more rewarding than taping or using a joystick, and moving around PQ2’s map quite simple as players do not have direct control, but rather select the direction they wish to go in.
The Puzzle Quest franchise combines tropes of the role-playing genre, level ups, equipment, quests and the like, with a gem puzzler, much in the same vein as Bejeweled. Once a battle is initiated with a goblin, dragon, ogre or other fantastical creature, battle is done on an 8×8 grid. Matching three (or more) specific colored gems allows the player to fill their mana pools, and matching skulls will directly damage the opponent. Once you have enough mana available, you can cast certain spells with various effects.
For example, in PQ2 the sorcerer class can cast the fire bolts spell for five red mana. Damage from fire bolts is based off how much yellow mana the caster has, so it’s worth it to cast the spell when the yellow mana reserves are high. The sorcerer class also has a spell called dark channel, where you can select a specific color and gain all those gems on the board into your pool for six purple mana. So if a sorcerer selects all the yellow gems, he/she can build up a large yellow pool to use with fire bolts. The depth of the combat can be incredibly complex and strategic.
Mix in how different each of the classes play (assassin, barbarian, sorcerer, templar) and their respective strategies, a variety of different gem-based minigames and some decent dark fantasy artwork/graphics, and developer Infinitive Interactive one of the deeper role-playing games developed for iOS devices. The only real thing the game lacks is an engaging story, but you will be having too much fun smashing in a goblin witch’s face before she can string together enough mana to wipe out your hit points to care.
Puzzle Quest 2 is also available for Android phones, but it requires the player to pay to keep playing throughout the story and features numerous glitches. Price wise, Puzzle Quest 2 is almost a steal on the iOS devices. It runs for a measly $3.99 in the App store, whereas the Xbox Live version costs $10.00 and the DS version costs around $20 – 30. It’s a great, cheap and deep addition to any RPG/puzzle fan’s iOS library.