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Friday, December 11, 2015

Magic:The Gathering Puzzle Quest

In 2007 a game called Puzzle Quest caught my eye. An RPG game that used a match-3 mechanism to resolve encounters. A player chooses a class and then walks on a map where he or she completes main quests and side quests. Well, I spent hours and hours playing this game and crafting items (playing this game on Nintento DS will clearly show since the grid will be forever scratched into the surface^_^). I wanted more and the sequel came. The original game was a huge success and more and very different Puzzle Quests were produced. Unfortunately for Puzzle Quest fans the quality went downhill. Galactrix tried something new introducing a hex grid but it simply wasn't THE Puzzle Quest. So I came back to the original Puzzle Quest on my PSP.

Lately there were three different licensed Puzzle Quest. Marvel Puzzle Quest, Adventure Time Puzzle Quest and Magic: The Gathering Puzzle Quest (released yesterday). Starting with the Marvel one the games are free-to-play. The first free-to-play Puzzle Quest was ok, but I'm not a fan of Marvel actually. Adventure Time Puzzle Quest is a joke. Not only it looks horrible and is poorly done but it does not offer any kind of a story or challenging battles.

After these experiences my expectations for Magic: The Gathering were pretty low. I did not know how the Magic element would be incorporated in the game so I was surprised with how the game works. What I expected was a RPG game set in the Magic multiverse, but there is way more to it.

The game has two modes a classic campaign Mode - Story - and a battle mode - Quick battle - in which you play against other players online. To win a battle you need to reduce your opponents life total to zero.

Each player starts with Nissa, Sage Animist but other Magic Origins planeswalkers can be bought. The planeswalker color limits the player in deckbuilding. Only cards of the corresponding color can be played in the deck. Each planeswalker has unique abilities that can be gained by leveling up. After each battle the planeswalkers hit points need to regenerate (welcome to F2P). You can either wait till this process ends or buy an instant regeneration.

A player chooses one of the Planeswalkers to play with. A planeswalker can cast spells or summon creatures. Casting spells is different from the original Puzzle Quest and it is something that really surprised. Each planeswalker also has abilities that can be used once per turn if the player has enough loyalty. Each planeswalker also has a deck of cards. Each turn the planeswalker draws a card at the beginning of his/her turn. Cards have mana cost. In order to play it that cost has to be paid via the match-3 system. Each 'walker gets different number of mana by matching 3 'crystals'. For example Sorin, Lord of Innistrad is black and white planeswalker. Thus matching white or black crystals produces the most mana (6 for each 3 matched). Matching different color crystals won't produced that much mana (the number can even be negative, -1 will produce 2 mana). The cards in the deck include creatures, spells and support cards. Creatures are played and stay in play until destroyed. Creatures that come into play have summoning sickness (cannot attack that turn) unless they have Haste. The creatures are of three different types. There are creatures that attack the opponent (attackers), defenders (block opposing creatures) and berserkers (attack opposing creatures). These creatures also have their own abilities. If a player knows the cards from Magic he or she has an idea what certain card will do. Spells have one time effect after they are cast. Casting of the spell can be delayed (if the effect wouldn't do much). Certain spells target so a target has to be chosen first. Support cards stay in play (in this case in play means somewhere in the grid) and do something (I haven't really used them much yet) till they are destroyed (matched a certain number of times).

So there is a deck containing some kind of cards...well this means that I can build my own deck? The answer is yes. But the cards need to be unlocked or bought (via real money or in game money one earns). When a card is drawn it is placed in planeswalker's hand. Here you as a player can choose the order in which the cards will be played simply by dragging the cards and moving them around. The topmost card will be played first.

So this pretty much sums up how the game is played. The game is original and good. Unfortunately my iphone has problems running the game for some reason. Some abilities don't trigger and the game crashes on my system/phone so I hope this won't be your case or that they will correct all the bugs (and connectivity issues). If you gave up already on Puzzle Quest games try this one, because it is unique and actually pretty good. If they continue supporting this game it could be truly awesome.