Last week's release of Puzzle Quest [App Store] was met with mixed reaction amongst our readers. Reactions seem to vary greatly depending on an individual's previous experience or exposure to the game.

For those unfamilar with the game, Puzzle Quest was originally released for the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable in early 2007. The game was very well received and became a surprise hit. Puzzle Quest brings together Role Playing and Match-3 gameplay into a harmonious package. Set in a traditional fantasy world occupied by knights, orcs, wizards and warriors, you must complete quests in order to progress the storyline. Beyond the actual storyline, there are also a number of side-quests that can also be pursued. All in all, the iPhone version is said to offer 20 hours of storyline gameplay alone.

It seems a waste of effort to try and re-review the actual game which has been so extensively discussed over the past two years. Instead, we'll point you to one of the many glowing reviews of the original game:

If Puzzle Quest were just Bejeweled, it would probably get tedious quickly, but by applying several standard RPG combat conventions to the formula, it becomes something much more strategic. Standard, one-on-one combat is the most common game you'll play, and it's also the deepest. You and your opponent, each using the same board, will take turns moving pieces, trying to whittle down each other's reserve of hit points. Attacks are performed by lining up skull-shaped pieces, though you've also got several spells that you can use for both offensive and defensive purposes.

Gamespot also does a good job walking you through the mechanics of the gameplay including the intricacies of the Match-3 battles which require strategic choices in order to prevail.

The iPhone version of the game (Chapter 1, $9.99) is a faithful port of what appears to be the first half of the original Nintendo DS version. Transgaming promises that this is the first of a trilogy of Puzzle Quest titles for the iPhone which will also include content from the Revenge of the Plague Lord explansion pack delivered to Xbox 360 customers this year. Transgaming also describes a "downward pricing model" which means the full cost for the entire trilogy should be less than $30.

The main criticism about the iPhone version of the game surrounds the seemingly sloppy efforts to bring the title to the iPhone itself. Many of the graphics are blurry, framerate sometimes slows down, and the text instructions can be difficult to read due to the size of the font (see screenshot above). As a result, fans of the original game are quick to dismiss the game as a clumsy port. The game, however, remains playable, and if you can look past these issues, many newcomers have already fallen for the game itself:

So I bought the game, and have never played Puzzle Quest before. And while I do see all of the negative points people have brought up in this thread about this port of the game... hands-down this is the most fun I've had with my iTouch since i got it. I have over 200 games already (a bit addicted to the app store, yes) and this is the very first time i'm losing sleep to play anything on this platform. This one's a winner in my book, regardless of its flaws.

Perhaps most concerning, however, have been sporadic reports that some players have lost their characters without explanation. Transgaming is said to be looking into these issues as well as one about legibility.

This high quality gameplay video (Full HD version) should provide you with a good look at how the game feels to decide if you're willing to take a chance given all the issues.


[ Full HD version | Low Bandwidth version ]

App Store Link: Puzzle Quest: Chapter 1, $9.99

TouchArcade Rating

  • AnHonestOp

    I must admit. the original comments about it being a sloppy port stopped me from buying. but the video made the game seem pretty fun (Though i did notice the text legibility issue.) However, I refuse to buy anymore undone apps. Since i've been using the app store i"ve downloaded hundreds of updates to only a handful of apps. it was to the point that i would come home from work and the first thing i'd do was hit the check for updates bar to see if any of my apps had been "fixed'.
    Word to developers: Don't release something thats undone. It gives you a bad name, and it makes consumers weary to buy from you again. Would you want an undone burger if it meant you'd get it sooner? No? Then don't sell me unfinished apps.

  • AnHonestOp

    I must admit. the original comments about it being a sloppy port stopped me from buying. but the video made the game seem pretty fun (Though i did notice the text legibility issue.) However, I refuse to buy anymore undone apps. Since i've been using the app store i"ve downloaded hundreds of updates to only a handful of apps. it was to the point that i would come home from work and the first thing i'd do was hit the check for updates bar to see if any of my apps had been "fixed'.
    Word to developers: Don't release something thats undone. It gives you a bad name, and it makes consumers weary to buy from you again. Would you want an undone burger if it meant you'd get it sooner? No? Then don't sell me unfinished apps.

  • Wabaam

    Hm..I can see the lag in the battles, but it still looks really fun..and I'm a sucker for match 3 and rpg's. Does anyone who hasn't played the DS version think it's worth a buy?

  • Wabaam

    Hm..I can see the lag in the battles, but it still looks really fun..and I'm a sucker for match 3 and rpg's. Does anyone who hasn't played the DS version think it's worth a buy?

  • arn

    many of the comments from people who never played the DS version seem to really like it.

    Old fans seem to be more critical of it.

    arn

  • arn

    many of the comments from people who never played the DS version seem to really like it.

    Old fans seem to be more critical of it.

    arn

  • Tony

    The game is a disgrace to the puzzle quest name. It is still puzzle quest but the graphics are horrible and the framerate is crappy. If Bejeweled can get the graphics right then there is no excuse for this game. I personally have been enjoying Orions much more. They seemed to put much more into their port for the iPhone.

  • Tony

    The game is a disgrace to the puzzle quest name. It is still puzzle quest but the graphics are horrible and the framerate is crappy. If Bejeweled can get the graphics right then there is no excuse for this game. I personally have been enjoying Orions much more. They seemed to put much more into their port for the iPhone.

  • Frumius

    I must second AnHonestOp in that there are way too many games released in an unfinished state. It's terrible. With this many people complaining about this one, I can guess it's another incomplete/unfinished one.

    I'll pass.

  • Frumius

    I must second AnHonestOp in that there are way too many games released in an unfinished state. It's terrible. With this many people complaining about this one, I can guess it's another incomplete/unfinished one.

    I'll pass.

  • Wabaam

    LOL I'm going to buy it

  • Wabaam

    LOL I'm going to buy it

  • TSP

    Horrible, just horrible. Get Samurai Puzzle Battle instead.

  • TSP

    Horrible, just horrible. Get Samurai Puzzle Battle instead.

  • http://www.twiddlegeek.com Tony

    I really enjoyed puzzle quest for the DS, so it would have been an instant purchase for me on the iPhone both to replay, and for the GF who has yet to try it. But between the seemingly unfinished state and the episodic content, I will pass.

  • http://www.twiddlegeek.com Tony

    I really enjoyed puzzle quest for the DS, so it would have been an instant purchase for me on the iPhone both to replay, and for the GF who has yet to try it. But between the seemingly unfinished state and the episodic content, I will pass.

  • John Smith

    Why defend unfinished app? When they patch it, then recommend that people buy it.

  • John Smith

    Why defend unfinished app? When they patch it, then recommend that people buy it.

  • Mkaos

    It's odd how they chose to internally render the game at a higher than iPhone resolution, ( look at certain in grid status boxes, like when you fail a capture and look at the grid behind the Zoomed box, those are the correctly scaled icons) this imples that it will take a lot of work to fix this problem and that the iphone is working much harder than it needs to while rendering this game and causing possible battery life issues ad well, as such for this to be fixed they would need to return to the drawing board so to speak and let's be honest how many companies would go to such lengths after a release. Only the companies that would not let something like this out in the first place, that's who. Course I still bought it and I'm playing it like it's going out of style , but still...

  • Mkaos

    It's odd how they chose to internally render the game at a higher than iPhone resolution, ( look at certain in grid status boxes, like when you fail a capture and look at the grid behind the Zoomed box, those are the correctly scaled icons) this imples that it will take a lot of work to fix this problem and that the iphone is working much harder than it needs to while rendering this game and causing possible battery life issues ad well, as such for this to be fixed they would need to return to the drawing board so to speak and let's be honest how many companies would go to such lengths after a release. Only the companies that would not let something like this out in the first place, that's who. Course I still bought it and I'm playing it like it's going out of style , but still...

  • Waltman

    This game looks terrible..pixel counting is not one of my favorite things to do.

  • Waltman

    This game looks terrible..pixel counting is not one of my favorite things to do.

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  • snowy2004

    It is a bad port. The game is still there but there's clearly issues, even gameplay ones. It's hard to see whenever you are being affected by something like poison and I'm pretty sure that in the DS original, you were able to see your enemy's equipment.

    I loved Puzzle Quest DS and I did buy this version. I do hope Transgaming patches the game but I would probably not recommend the game until they do. I really wanted to play i Love Katamari but I was disappointed to hear how bad the game was at it's initial release. I waited until the problems were patched and now I have an almost problem-free and enjoyable experience. Unless you really need to play some PQ now, you should wait until Transgaming gets their act together.

  • snowy2004

    It is a bad port. The game is still there but there's clearly issues, even gameplay ones. It's hard to see whenever you are being affected by something like poison and I'm pretty sure that in the DS original, you were able to see your enemy's equipment.

    I loved Puzzle Quest DS and I did buy this version. I do hope Transgaming patches the game but I would probably not recommend the game until they do. I really wanted to play i Love Katamari but I was disappointed to hear how bad the game was at it's initial release. I waited until the problems were patched and now I have an almost problem-free and enjoyable experience. Unless you really need to play some PQ now, you should wait until Transgaming gets their act together.

  • Seamus

    I'm someone else who has never played puzzle quest but have always wanted to. I got the iPhone version and while the text is small, I also highly enjoy it and fully recommend it to anyone who hasn't played puzzle quest before.

  • Seamus

    I'm someone else who has never played puzzle quest but have always wanted to. I got the iPhone version and while the text is small, I also highly enjoy it and fully recommend it to anyone who hasn't played puzzle quest before.

  • joni

    disgrace!!!! lazy ass port...

  • joni

    disgrace!!!! lazy ass port...

  • Kevin

    Considering how long it took to come out, this game is really mailed in. The images are stretched so badly, it's like they didn't ever try it on anything but a blown up window on the SDK emulator.

    They better REALLY fix this. I sent an email to their support and they say the first patch will be out within 2 weeks.

  • Kevin

    Considering how long it took to come out, this game is really mailed in. The images are stretched so badly, it's like they didn't ever try it on anything but a blown up window on the SDK emulator.

    They better REALLY fix this. I sent an email to their support and they say the first patch will be out within 2 weeks.

  • http://www.fftrealm.com Noah

    Yeah, I'm definitely not purchasing this title...

  • http://www.fftrealm.com Noah

    Yeah, I'm definitely not purchasing this title...

  • Quebec Rage

    For me I bought the game and I love it ! I don't care about the quality of the port because the gamepay is still awesome. Whit the updates they will probably solve the graphical issues anyway.

  • http://TouchArcade Quebec Rage

    For me I bought the game and I love it ! I don't care about the quality of the port because the gamepay is still awesome. Whit the updates they will probably solve the graphical issues anyway.

  • http://nathany.com/gadgeteer/ Nathan Youngman

    I bought Puzzle Quest right away, I hadn't played it before, but had read some reviews when looking for a DS game for my little sister this past year. It certainly does lack polish... my main complaints are that the music changes abruptly, and that the shop interface is hard to fat-finger (sometimes clicks don't click). The story is kinda cheesy, but otherwise I'm finding it really fun. In terms of play balance, I've gotten myself into a quest with a high HP ogre that I can't pass, but at least I can take some other quests to bump up my stats.

  • http://nathany.com/gadgeteer/ Nathan Youngman

    I bought Puzzle Quest right away, I hadn't played it before, but had read some reviews when looking for a DS game for my little sister this past year. It certainly does lack polish... my main complaints are that the music changes abruptly, and that the shop interface is hard to fat-finger (sometimes clicks don't click). The story is kinda cheesy, but otherwise I'm finding it really fun. In terms of play balance, I've gotten myself into a quest with a high HP ogre that I can't pass, but at least I can take some other quests to bump up my stats.

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  • Fokion

    As I've said before, the core game experience is so good that technical issues can't really bring this down. On the other hand, there's no excuse for transgaming not to try and fix the horrible image quality, frame rate and half-finished interface. Being able to check status effects and equipment is a must, and there's no reason for a match three game to skip frame rates on the iPhone, especially considering how well the DS handled the game.

  • Fokion

    As I've said before, the core game experience is so good that technical issues can't really bring this down. On the other hand, there's no excuse for transgaming not to try and fix the horrible image quality, frame rate and half-finished interface. Being able to check status effects and equipment is a must, and there's no reason for a match three game to skip frame rates on the iPhone, especially considering how well the DS handled the game.

  • Pingback: Transgaming to Deliver ‘Puzzle Quest’ Chapter 2 as Free Update | an Apple iPhone 4 you

  • Sierran

    I installed this game on my iPad 3G. I won't comment on the blurry/jaggy problem, since I'm 2x-ing it anyway - but I want to note that the framerate issues are there (sometimes it just hangs while writing out speech messages for a few seconds, for example). Worse, it SUCKS on battery. I get around 10 hrs of use from my iPad, fully charged, even watching video for 7+ hours of that. 2 hrs of PuzzleQuest sucked down 60%+ of my iPad battery. Something in there is a crappily-done port with zero optimization.

  • Sierran

    I installed this game on my iPad 3G. I won't comment on the blurry/jaggy problem, since I'm 2x-ing it anyway - but I want to note that the framerate issues are there (sometimes it just hangs while writing out speech messages for a few seconds, for example). Worse, it SUCKS on battery. I get around 10 hrs of use from my iPad, fully charged, even watching video for 7+ hours of that. 2 hrs of PuzzleQuest sucked down 60%+ of my iPad battery. Something in there is a crappily-done port with zero optimization.