A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The hero is selfless, coming to the aid of anyone who needs help.
Positive Role Models
Your protagonist (you have a choice of several) is definitely heroic, but may also be technically employed as an assassin (which only comes into play in the character's stealthy attributes) or may wear revealing outfits.
Ease of Play
The rules of Puzzle Quest are rather simply to learn, and the control scheme couldn't be easier. There's a lot of nuance that can be learned along the way for more and more skillful playing, though. The game gets harder as it goes along, but the challenge rises on a gradual curve.
Violence & Scariness
The "fights" in this game are all depicted in the form of matching puzzles. You earn points for matching coins, which you can then spend on attacks against your foe. Sometimes weapons are shown flying across the screen to represent an attack, but you never see them hit anyone. Damage is displayed by the reduction of a health meter. Some of the attacks have violent names, including "Blood Drain," "Crushing Kill," and "Eat Brains." Violent acts, such as a soldier being eaten by a monster, are also described in narration and dialogue.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some of the female characters where revealing clothing -- visible cleavage, bare midriff, etc.
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"Hell," "damn," and "bastard" can be read in the dialogue, though that last one is used only in reference to a weapon called the "bastard sword."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Puzzle Quest 2 is essentially a matching-puzzle game, but that it also has a heavy role-playing element. It is the role-playing aspect of the game that features some violent plot points (revealed through narration and dialogue, not visually) and some scary imagery. While the game is a sequel to Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, there's no need to have played the original to enjoy this new game.
Is It Any Good?
The original Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords was a wonderfully unique blend of role-playing and puzzle games. Puzzle Quest 2 actually manages to improve upon the formula, with some fablulous new features. One is the addition of "action icons," symbols you match together to gain points to use a physical weapon (as opposed to the spells which are used in the majority of the fighting). Gathering raw materials that can be used to upgrade weapons and armor is also nice. Even the way you move around -- on the streets of towns and through the corridors of dungeons, as opposed to just navigating pinpoints on a map, like in the last game -- is much improved. Puzzle Quest 2 is a worthy successor to one of the more original games of the past decade.
Online interaction: Multiplayer games can be played on both the Nintendo DS and the Xbox 360, but playing through Xbox Live, you can find yourself in a situation where your opponent is a stranger with open voice chat.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.