Chey’s Top 25 – #17 – Puzzle Quest

Genre:  Match-3, RPG
Platform:  All, I think.  I have it for Nintendo DS and XBox 360.

Having long been a fan of match-3 type of games, you can imagine my delight at finding a game that combined that simple game play with RPG elements.  I believe this was one of the first games I downloaded from the XBox Live arcade, many years ago.  I have played the poo out of this game.  I have played it all the way through at least 10 times, which is no small feat because there’s a lot of grinding involved in it.  I personally think the DS version of the game is best due to the use of the stylus.

This game has you create a character from a few different classes and start on your merry way.  It has some “save the princess” story, but there are definitely twists on it.  For example, you have the option to help the princess escape her situation of forced marriage and be a badass with you on the road.  Of course I did this.  Screw the man!

As you play, you level up and get to assign points for different attributes which increase the game play.  As you encounter certain enemies, you can “capture” them by completing an often-challenging mini game.  Once you do that, you learn the spells it knows, allowing you greater ability to customize your character.  You can also lay siege to cities, build a citadel with various beneficial buildings, train mounts and research spells.

The “Quest” part of this game is no laughing matter.  There are a TON of quests to do, and it may take you hours of grinding to become powerful enough to complete some of them.  That was fine with me, however, because this is a super fun game.  There have been a few other versions of it.  I never gave Puzzle Quest 2 a fair shake and I’ll go back to it someday.  I didn’t like Puzzle Quest Galactrix, which is hexagonal and set in space.  There’s also a Marvel version which is quite good, too.  But I would first check out the original and its expansion, which is always included with the original game.  Have fun!

Hidden Gems – Pinball Quest

Genre:  Arcade/Pinball
Platform:  NES

My parents bought this game for me for Christmas one year.  I loved every new game that I got, but I really loved this one.  It wasn’t until much later that I realized how unique this game was.  Since this is my second post about a pinball game, you could assume, correctly, that I really like pinball.  I’d love to have my own real table one day.

Anyway, this game has three traditional tables – Pop!  Pop!, bowling/pool table; Viva! Golf, a golf table; and Circus, a circus-themed table.  Each had unique elements to them and had some bonus games, which was rare for the time.  All three were very fun and I spent plenty of time on each.

This game really became unique when you played in RPG mode.  This took you to a table that was really a story mode.  When you hit certain characters, text boxes would pop up.  As you played through, you went to new and more difficult tables.  It was a very unique way to present a pinball game and I’ve rarely heard anyone talk about this one.  This is why it’s a hidden gem.  Check it out if you can!

Hidden Gems – Pic Pic for the DS

PicPicNintendoDS698_f

Genre:  Puzzle
Platform:  Nintendo DS

I only first learned about Pic Pic about a year ago while looking for good Picross games.  This is not a picross game, but a collection of three different puzzle game modes.  It’s got a whopping 400 puzzles for each mode, so you’ll be busy for a while.  This game kept me enthralled for hours and hours and I’m sure I’ll play it more in the future.

The first game mode is Maze Paint.  In this mode, you complete a maze to draw a picture.  The modes all start easy and get harder as you go.  This was a fun mode to play, especially once I got to the later modes.

Pic Pic Maze

The second mode is Drawing.  I had played this type of game before and really enjoyed it.  You paint a picture by drawing lines between two numbers.  The number tells you how many squares that line will use.  It can get challenging, but it is rewarding when you finally figure out that section you’ve been working on for five minutes.

Pic Pic Link-a-Pix

The final mode is my favorite, Magipic.  You are given a set of numbers telling you how many squares around it are filled in.  This creates a picture.  It was also the hardest of the modes and had the steepest learning curve.  However, it’s very rewarding once you “get it”.

Pic Pic Magic Number

This game is really hard to find.  I got mine off of Ebay for around $30, but it’s tough to find now.  It’s a Europe- or Japan-only game and was never released in the US.  Fortunately, the Nintendo DS is not region locked (but the 3DS is), meaning you can play any game from any region on any device.  The 3DS can play any region’s DS game, just not 3DS games.  If you can find it and like puzzle games, I strongly recommend it.

Hidden Gems – 999 for the Nintendo DS

Platform:  Nintendo DS
Genre: Adventure/Visual Novel

999: Nine Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors was a surprisingly good game that I picked up at a Gamestop years ago while on the road for work.  I had never heard of it, but the covers looked interesting enough.  I don’t think I slept much the first night I started playing it because it sucked me in.

In this game, you play as a young Japanese man who suddenly awakens to find himself in a room on a ship.  He has no idea how he got there and it’s your job to help him figure out what is going on.  Once you find your way out of your room, you find that there are 8 other people in the same situation.  Your goal is to find a way off the ship.

This game is similar in concept to that of the movie Saw, but it’s not gory or even scary. However, I still wouldn’t let the little ones play it (12 or under maybe?). There are tense moments and it also feels like a whodunnit at times.  This game has EXCELLENT writing and some may call it a visual novel.  This was my intro to such games and I was blown away.

The decisions you make throughout the game greatly affect the ending.  In fact, there are 9 different endings, so replay-ability is very high.  I have discovered 3 of the endings thus far.  Nintendo DS games are starting to get pricey, but if you can find this one on the cheap, check it out!