Friday, March 30, 2007

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

Review of the Game
Fantastic game. There are four classes and four portraits for each class (two girls and two guys each). You collect items and equipment which affect how the game plays. The game is simple: a puzzle board wherein you move one piece at a time up, down, left or right and try to make a vertical or horizontal row of three or more of a kind. Each colored gem represents a kind of Mana (magic) that you can use for different spells that you have. Some are direct damage (skulls) instead of Mana, others are gold and experience point gems.

So, you can set whether or not you have a time limit to make a turn, the difficulty of your opponent, and go to town. You can buy a mount, capture prisoners and make spells - but only if you have the right buildings built in your citadel - you'll need stables and dungeons and mage towers for those activities. Plus you can have companions, apparently, but I haven't gotten there.

Leveling up seems fast with my Paladin (they get bonus XP) and good with all other classes.

The thing that troubles me is that console games are now coming out with BUGS, not just your minor glitches, but fucking obvious ones like "The game crashes after a match" which is rare, but taken in total across the Internet, folks talk about it, and it happened to me once.

Buried in the 2nd page of a thread on DS version bugs in "Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords" I posted this:

We're getting off-topic with the ROM morality debate; however, everyone please clarify if you are using a ROM or a Cartridge, because there can be issues with some games (Ultimate Spiderman loves to play poorly with MOD cards).

I am using a ROM (forget the dump team) and a G6 Lite MOD card with a Passcard 3.

Bugs I have found:

  1. Crash after Victory Bug: (Multiplayer Local Ad-Hoc game) Upon my daughter, Maria de Guadalupe, beating me, her NDS went black and crashed. Upon reloading, we couldn't tell if it had saved her progress or not before it crashed.
  2. Spell List Bug: The spell list you see is not the one you are trying to click on ... I was playing with my 10 year-old again and noticed I had a new spell after my level up, so I clicked "HELP" and tapped on the new spell, but nothing happened for it or the 2nd to the bottom spell. Clicking on my upper spells told me the stats to my daughter's spells, not mine. I eventually figured out that, while I was seeing my spells, the game thought I was tapping on the Spell List that wasn't there, namely, her spell list, not mine. To see mine, I had to switch to her spell list and then click where my spell would be, even though she had less spells this worked.

Bugs In Total:

  1. Something about leveling up while mounted.
  2. Restarting multiple times makes the gems randomize themselves.
  3. AI seems to get really lucky as to what falls down - I have noticed this too, but I don't think it's a bug - I think it is the game's way of making sure the AI has mana to give it a chance against the power of the human difference engine (brain). I tend to plan my moves out 2 to 3 turns if I can, so I can get something better than just the gems I'm moving. The computer does this too, but sometimes it seems more due to what drops after they make a move, rather than how the existing pieces fall.
  4. ...
Summary about Puzzle Quest: Warlords
This is the first game I have really super liked on the Nintendo DS since Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, which I beat recently (most folks beat the game at level 35, I beat it at level 65 - Dracula can't be brute forced, but being his match helps).

Yu-Gi-Oh on the NDS

I liked Yu-Gi-Oh: Nightmare Troubadour, but the cards were blurry and worst, you could only sort all 1,148 card types in your inventory by one criteria, and filter by one other criteria, which made creating decks by reading the cards in the game impossible.

So I tried Yu-Gi-Oh: Spirit Summoner. That version had much better card textures (not blurry) and you could filter by any combination of filters you wanted (say, all trap/spell cards of a given color), which was glorious.

Unfortunately, the new music is hideous and you can't turn it off, and the control system for using the cards has changed so that everything involves one extra click, and all of the buttons are now tiny. You have to click on a card, then click a tiny button (one of two) to sway what you want to do with it. Before, this was one step.

So Yu-Gi-Oh didn't kill Yu-Gi-Oh, the sequel did. It was so much better (creating decks, which is essential to play the game), but so much worse (music and a control system that kills interest in the game).