I’ve been beat up about the size of my television for quite some time. I’m still chugging along with a 27″ beast that I bought for $200 back in college (or older, I can’t remember). It’s served me well for a long time and continues to deliver a color picture, and most of the time that’s all I ask. I’m not a big TV-watcher as it were, so having a huge picture and crystal clarity is not that important to me. Even watching DVDs doesn’t bother me. But on occasion, the gaming experience can be a bit problematic.
As I’ve discussed before, the surge of active gaming creates a very interesting puzzle of the gaming environment. Games require more and more space to enjoy, especially if you’re playing with other people. The Wii especially requires you have space, even if only two people are playing together. Add two more for some four-way action and you need damn well close to a gym to play comfortably. And along with space you need a good screen size to insure that everyone can see. I can’t really fix the space issue, but the TV size problem is starting to take its toll on me.
Of course, gaming with others happens far less often than not, so I’m not about to buy a new TV just to cater to being able to play with friends. That’s just silly. But for Christmas I got a game that needs a big TV. Not because it’s so grandiose that it justifies one, no, it needs a big screen because it was designed poorly.
The game is PuzzleQuest. I’ve mentioned it a few times before and I’ve even called it a sleeper hit and still stand by it. It’s a really fun game. It’s one of those games that when I first played I said, “why didn’t I think of that?”
PuzzleQuest combines the old game Bejeweled with a basic RPG, so you get a huge dose of puzzling while getting a good portion of RPGing. It’s a great blend. The game revolves around matching up different icons a la Bejeweled. There are different icons each representing different things, either magic power, experience, attack, or gold. But unlike Bejeweled, you’re competing against the computer (or a person) and trying to defeat the other by draining their energy.
You drain energy by matching up skull icons. Your character can also use spells to attack and heal. Spells require magic power that is received when you match up different colored icons. You can use gold to buy items like swords and armor and experience advances you levels, naturally. It’s a very basicRPG that doesn’t require much thought but adds just enough motivation to the puzzle that you need to think about what icons you need to match up and when. Whereas in Bejeweled you just need to match up as many colors as you can,PuzzleQuest requires you consider your opponent when playing.
The RPG part of the game comes when you travel around a map in order to complete quests. The quests follow your typical RPG pattern of finding items, saving people, and slaying huge baddies, like dragons. The map, plot points, and characters add little to the overall game. You can really just cruse from point to point finding enemies to fight and have a blast.
But now to the sore spot. PuzzleQuest has been ported to just about every gaming platform there is, I think. I first played it as a demo on the PC and got hooked. I asked for the game forWii and got it for Christmas. I popped it in and found that the game was pretty much a direct conversion of the PC version, which was probably a conversion from some other system. This is fine and all as it means the experience is the same, but when you’re playing on the PC you have a nice big screen in front of you…on theWii it’s a little different, at least at my house. The game has a lot of text and labels and my TV just isn’t big enough. You can barely read the text or other icons and labels. Thankfully the game is easy enough that you can play and have fun without having to read much, but even then the game screen feels very cramped. It’s one of the few times where I wish I had a bigger TV.
This is a little game that requires a big screen…at least if you’re looking up the console route. Considering this is a common puzzle game, the point-and-click of the computer is by far the best way to play. It’s nice to have a casual game you can play on the couch and all, and play other people that are close by, but it can’t compete with the PC experience. Thankfully, this is a “budget” title and even theWii version is only $30. I’ll probably be buying the PC version too if I can find it. It’s one of the few games I think I can enjoy and justify actually buying it twice.
So if you have a yearning for some RPGing but don’t want the investment a Zelda requires, then PuzzleQuest is a great way to have fun and get your fill. It’s easy enough newbies to enjoy and have fun while veteran gamers can put as much strategy in the game as they want. A good buy (and cheap buy) if your gaming library is getting a little stagnant.