Riddle Me This
Love it or hate it, the first Puzzle Quest was a huge hit, which somewhat surprised most gamers when it was released in 2007. It combined the addictive gameplay of similar games such as Bejeweled, and added in various RPG elements including a story, sidequests, character leveling, spells, and so on. Critics from both the puzzle and role-playing sides however didn't care much for it generally; puzzle-fans claimed the gameplay was too watered down and simplistic, while RPG-fans thought the story, levelingsystem, and other RPG-related terms were just gimmicks.
You once again control a hero, and get to choose from four classes; Barbarian, Assassin, Sorcerer, and Templar. The differences are mostly regarding what spells you have and what row of coloured gems your class prefer to line up during battles. Already on the first screen during the singleplayer game you notice a huge difference, as the old "run-around-a-huge-map-without-detail"-style is gone, but instead you're greeted by smooth graphics and a Diablo-style view. You're still limited to certain walkpaths, laid out with a breadcrumb-trail to your main questobjective, but you mostly have the freedom to choose other paths when searching for sidequests, especially when running around the dungeons.
Gone is also the tideous way of obtaining crafting materials, and instead you're presented with loot everytime you defeat an opponent. This makes the crafting portion of the game much more satisfying, as you progress simply by clearing your way through the main quest and sidequests. The battles are very much similar to the first game, you still line up rows of gems, skulls, and so on to either be able to cast spells or directly damage your foe. There's a new gem however, which makes your weapon useable instead of just being a passive statboost. These weaponslots can either be two-handed weapons, dualwielding weapons, a weapon and a shield, and so on. It's pretty much up to the player what style they prefer, which is really interesting the longer you play.
You'll also encounter plenty of treasurechests, locked doors, traps, which all have their own type of minigames. These really breaks up the gameplay in a fun way, as fighting monster after monster can often feel repetitive. The RPG-elements are extremely improved as well, with a much more focused story, stats that actually feel like they make a difference, and even some voiceacting here and there.
In short, Puzzle Quest 2 really took the good things from the first game, but also threw out most of the boring and cheap stuff. Sure, it sometimes feels like the AI is being a bit *too* lucky, but never to the point when you want to strangle something. The major points that are keeping the score from being anything higher are mainly the somewhat thin story, the repetiveness of most fights, and the rather steep price. 1200 points can surely scare some away, but if you enjoy a good puzzlegame with mostly fun RPG-elements implemented, you definatly shouldn't think twice about picking this one up.
(My native language isn't English, and I apologize for any errors)