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Old 07-01-2009, 11:06 PM   #1
ViciousMink
 
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Brief Review

A brief review of 'Puzzle Kingdoms,' by V-Mink.

I've played Puzzle Quest. I was even moderately excited about PQ: Galactrix. (I'm a sucker for SF games.) I found PQ frustrating at times, and Galactrix, but, hey, thought I would give PK a try!

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, prepare for doom.

Right, so let me get the 'other stuff' out of the way first. Puzzle Kingdoms has something of a strategic flavor to it in the same way that Puzzle Quest has an RPG flavor to it: It's a wrapper, if determines who your 'opponent' is in each puzzle, and it serves as something of a metaphor. In PK, things get mixed up a bit in that you can have several types of 'units' on your side that have their own attacks and activation requirements. It seems that in PK, there's more of a focus on powering up your units for their attacks, rather than relying on the effects of the puzzle 'solutions.'

That's the gist of the non-puzzle components. There's some variety in what kinds of puzzles there are, but not as much variety as there was in Galactrix. The variety comes in with the units you bring into the puzzle with you. The puzzle mechanic is also slightly different from that in PQ, and seems *slightly* more forgiving of a tyro.

Okay, I think I got all the ancillary stuff out of the way. Now to the meat of it.

Every last damn Puzzle Quest game cheats.

Okay, I'm exaggerating. It's actually hard to code a game to cheat, or at least nontrivial. However, 'Not programmed to cheat' is NOT the same as 'Not programmed to kick your butt and rub your nose in it.' Look, for 99.9% of humanity, playing against a computer in chess is a lost game. The same is true here. Most chess programs have varying difficulty settings so you can play at lower difficulties for fun, or to build up to harder levels. While the PQ games don't cheat, per se, they really don't hold anything back, ever. They WILL take every advantage, they WILL manipulate the board, they WILL use every trick they have available. They will show no mercy. They're Bejeweled turned into little 32-bit Terminators. They're what happens if someone took a casual game and decided to make it "hardcore."

Okay, on the one hand, I grok this. It's not a challenge if the computer doesn't set out to hand you a spanking. On the other hand, there's such a thing as 'too much.' I'm pretty sure PQ/PK falls on the side of 'too much.' Yes, I can hear all the hardcore gamers now pointing and laughing at me for saying PK is 'too hard.' Let me amend that: 'Too hard to be fun.' There's a 'challenge' and then there's an 'exercise in frustration.' If you can trounce the AI, good for you! Congratulations! I'm not going to devote more brain cycles to trying.

Okay, I'm done with this screed! I've already devoted more time to PQ games than I should. Bottom line: If you're a masochist who likes to be beaten about the noggin by a chunk of silicon, Puzzle Kingdoms is 'more of the same' from the people who brought you Puzzle Quest. It doesn't cheat, but it's the next best thing! I cannot recommend this game if you're looking for a casual puzzler; I can't even recommend it if you're looking for something more 'hardcore' because this kind of blows the roof off of that building. There are better, more interesting, more innovative puzzlers here on Steam. I recommend 'Chains', 'Audiosurf,' 'Peggle,' and even 'Obulis,' and of course 'Plants vs. Zombies.' Any of these games are more worth your time (and PvZ has greater replay value) over any of the PQ games.
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:30 PM   #2
RamblinBob
 
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I really should have came in here and read your review before I bought this game lol

This game makes my ing blood pressure go through the roof. I like a challenge but HOLY . This game makes Disciples look like the computer is being nice to you.

Its like you have something ready to attack and the computer has a spell that targets a "RANDOM" creature on your side and 99.99% of the time it'll hit the thing you have waiting to attack. But if you try to do this and you end up targeting "RANDOM" creature on their side you can be sure as that you will hit the most USELESS thing the computer has in its army.

If you have a type A personality STAY AWAY from this game! Or you may end up breaking your keyboard in half and throwing your monitor out the window after loading your game 80 million times in a row trying to beat the same hero.
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Old 05-02-2010, 02:11 PM   #3
foadiron
 
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I can honestly say that I have not found the game difficult like you two have. Am I the only one, or are there others?
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:48 PM   #4
DocturDread
 
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I don't find this game very difficult either. I find it rather enjoyable and relaxing. I haven't seen any evidence that the CPU "cheats" either. Great game!
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:11 PM   #5
PolarisOrbit
 
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I don't think the game is too hard, but I do think it is much MUCH too slow.

Capturing towns feels like you spend a lot of time and get nothing for it (okay, so you level up a little bit, but that's not too exciting considering how many fights you have to go thru for 1 measly level).

The taverns and dungeons have cool rewards but it's not very much fun to do those tasks over and over... and over and over.

It feels like they could have integrated these two "things" together into just one thing and cut the grinding in half. I would rather have a game that progressed at a decent pace so I might want to play through it again at a later date using a different strategy or progression path. Instead, I'm not even sure I'm going to complete it once because it takes too long to get anything done.

I'm sad about that
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:38 AM   #6
Schrodinger
 
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I am loving this game - quite unexpectedly for me. Bought it in the sale and have so far put in 24 hours!

The part that is now getting me down it the "Pray to destroy boxes". I think I am near to the end having gone through the bad guy's brother and some more since then, but the last prayer thing took 220 moves.

There should be a way of biasing these in your favour by using gold or spells (is there?) as it is preventing the enjoyment of the rest of the game...
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Old 07-24-2010, 11:38 AM   #7
PaulDurham
 
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Wrong genre?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ViciousMink View Post
There are better, more interesting, more innovative puzzlers here on Steam. I recommend 'Chains', 'Audiosurf,' 'Peggle,' and even 'Obulis,' and of course 'Plants vs. Zombies.'
These games are a quite different genre. At least PvZ, Chains, and Audiosurf are hardly puzzlers at all but merely action/arcade games. There, searching patterns is present as a game device but VERY basic only.

Seems you just want more action and don't like the neverending not-quite-trivial pattern matching stuff that's at the core of PK (which is boring for some people but others crave it). If you don't like it and rush it, making mistakes, the game obviously will seem very hard to you. Anyways, at about the third kingdom extras will give you so much power mistakes don't matter though ;-).

Last edited by PaulDurham: 07-25-2010 at 09:33 AM.
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