Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords - PSP Review

This is another quick, light review of a title that has proven very popular with my household.  This is actually one of the first games we acquired for our PSP back when my wife got it for me for Christmas several years ago, and I wrote this review for it on another site, and thought I would share it on here.

Merge a puzzle game with a role-playing game and see what comes of it. That must have been an interesting meeting the day Puzzle Quest was designed. While the premise sounds almost impossible, it works surprisingly well. As a role-playing game Puzzle Quest would only be average. You gather items, craft items, there is a story you can interact with and help shape with your changes. There are spells, levels and experience points to be gained - all the RPG staples. As a puzzle game, I suspect this disc would hold up quite well, because there is quite a bit to do in an average match, even though the premise is pretty simple. The two together though, feed off of one another to make a game that is unique, and also one that appeals to a broad audience.

Graphics: Nothing spectacular here. The art direction of the characters and the map are good enough, and the puzzle board is static most of the time but there is good detail to what is drawn. Graphics have never really been a staple of either genre of game, and here it breaks no new ground.

Sound and Music: The music is pretty catchy, but there is very little in the way of sound. What is there certainly is not memorable. It does the job, but it does little to stand out.

Game play: everything is easy to do - the puzzle is turn-based so the game does not challenge players with dexterity. The menus navigate easily and moving around the map is pretty simple. In a game like this, simplicity is a good thing from a controls standpoint.

Intangibles: This is where Puzzle Quest shines. Everything ties into everything else, and it does so wonderfully. Different opponents can be fought based on where you go on the map. Opponents have hit points. As you fight and win, you gain experience. As you gain experience, you learn new spells and gain more hit points, making it easier for you to best opponents. This is a game that I had never heard of, and in a matter of days my wife and another co-worker were completely hooked on it, as was I. The game also scores well for originality.

Overall I would give this game 4 out of 5 stars. From a technology standpoint the graphics and sound are nothing special, and on the surface there seems to be very little to do or hold someone's attention. However, the game simply proves to be fun, and is that not what gaming is supposed to be all about? An unlikely combination, but one that certainly works.


  1. Found the art, story and music really generic fantasy fare. However my god this game is addictive. I've been playing it on and off on XBLA for ages now and my only regret is not getting a portable versions since it probably suits the format a lot better.

  2. I agree completely that it was perfect for portable. I got part 2 on the 360, and while I like it okay, I am still only partway through it. However, on the PSP, I played through it very quickly - and then my wife did, and my son did... lol. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Actually, I think puzzle and RPG seem like a logical fit. Well, really I think almost any genre could have RPG elements added to it. I always liked the Harvest Moon series, but after playing Rune Factory Frontier, I can't imagine playing another farming sim that doesn't include the depth that RPG traits add to it. That's why I feel like any genre could be benefited with a little bit of RPG flavoring.

  4. I haven't actually tried the Harvest Moon or Rune Factory games, Holly - but I do agree with the sentiment. I often point out that some of my favorite aspects to some titles (the unlocking of new gear and experience points of Call of Duty online, or players improving/getting worse in sports titles over the seasons) include the RPG elements (experience, unlocked items, customizable characters, etc).

    Thanks for stopping in! :)

  5. There is a PC game, that a friend recommended I try a few years back, but I can't remember the name of it now...

    Anywho, it's something about a map, and each section can have different resources.
    Grrrrrrrrrr, can't remember it now.

    I gave it a try, and played it for a few days back then, but never went back to it.

    The basic map image you have up there, is probably more detailed than the maps in the game I was playing...now it's going to bother me all night until I can remember it.

    I haven't played this one though, but seeing Holly mention Harvest Moon and Rune Factory Frontier is interesting, just because I know those games by name, and they seem to be pretty popular.

  6. @Coffee - you're forgetting game names now? Is it old age, not enough coffee yet this morning...? :)

  7. HAHA! Me and my friend that recommended it had a text book going last night, trying to think of it...after 1,700 pages of texting, he finally remembered the game HE recommended to me.
    *okay, maybe a little exaggerated

    The game is/was Settlers of Catan. Not sure if you have heard of it or not?

  8. @coffee - ah, okay - I have in fact heard of it. I have not played it, but it's actually based on a board game, but there is also a Catan game for the Xbox Live if I recall correct, though I have not actually played either one yet.


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