The game that started the match-three / RPG genre in 2007 is back for a third time Puzzle Quest 3. An early preview of the Android version of threequel reveals a somewhat more dynamic impression of the genre mash-up. Giving players two seconds to map out their moves makes a big difference.
The basic idea of Puzzle Quest is that players match gems to collect mana to come up with spells or harm the enemy directly. For example, my assassin – one of Puzzle Quest 3five playable classes with Paladin,
Necromancer, Berzerker and Shaman – requires 100 purple mana to cast Night Blade, a skill that does some damage plus five percent for each purple gem on the board. At my assassin’s current level, matching a purple gem gives me 12 mana. When I have collected 100 purple mana, I can spell, the enemy gets hurt and my purple mana is used. It’s a simple, elegant system that has made me return to the first two games and different spin-offs for 14 years.
Puzzle Quest 3 changes things in several ways. First, computer-controlled enemies do not get a turn that matches pearls. Instead, they have automatic abilities that fire off each round. The goblin in the screenshot at the top of this post removes two random pearls from the board each turn, which can drastically change the board layout, but there is no need to worry about missing a big fight and getting the enemy to take advantage of it.
The most drastic change, however, is how you take a turn. Instead of performing a single jewel change every turn, you get two seconds to make as many matches on the board as possible. Gemstones can be swapped up and down, side by side and diagonally, so there is plenty of room to maneuver. With a little skill and a little luck, you can clear most of the screen in a single turn.
The extra time to move gives a whole new team with depth in the game’s strategy. Although most of the time I have spent with preview has seen me turn to food that is easy to send out, I can see where my character is going and how important pearl movement becomes when I get up in level.
I look forward to diving deeper into Puzzle Quest 3core games, unlock new skills and abilities and try new classes. What I do not look forward to getting caught up in all the free-to-play fluffery that has been tackled on the experience. There are several parts of equipment that can be developed and leveled with resources. Resources earned through chests can either be unlocked with keys, either rewarded or purchased with currency in the game. Chests can also be unlocked over time using collectibles, but the handrails are on a timer, the chests are on a timer, hours, hours, hours. I really hate random timers.
But I love Puzzle Quest, so I will stick to Puzzle Quest 3 a little while. The good news is that if you are an Android user, you can access early access for free via Google Play right now. Join me as I peel spiders, orcs and goblins with my crazy ones Bejeweled skills and grasp loudly about stupid breasts.