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Review: Adventure Time: Puzzle Quest

Adventure Time is a crazy and very popular cartoon nowadays. Most of the fans are teenagers but that doesn’t change the fact that the humor of Adventure Time can work for a bigger audience. Jack and Finn start a new adventure on mobile devices and combine it with the classic ‘Match-three’ gameplay. But does it actually work?

Story based

The game starts rather good thanks to the story. As you might expect, the story is filled with classic Adventure Time humor. Finn has to rescue Jack from the rat-filled dungeons of the Ice King. It doesn’t take long for Finn to succeed in this mission so the Ice King tells you it was only a test to see if you were worth to gather his lost item. Well, you just survived the rats so it seems like you’re going on a new adventure!

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During your adventure, Jack and Finn will often bump into other well-known characters of the cartoon and the fun part is that you can recruit most of them to fight in your party. Collecting these characters always results in some rather fun dialogues. It’s great to see that this much attention went to the story and humor, it’s clear the creators wanted to please their audience.

Match-three and prepare to fight 

This brings us to the actual gameplay. As said in the introduction, the game is a classic match-three game at heart. For those unfamiliar with the genre, match-three games are played by matching three tiles of the same color. Once you did this, the blocks will disappear, making room for others. The real goal is to create combos and destroy as many tiles as possible with just one move. It’s the same system as in Candy Crush but Puzzle Quest adds some new stuff to it.

The biggest change is the fact that you’re actually playing a turned based game. Destroying tiles will make one of your party members attack the opponent. Enemies attack you after each turn and when your health goes down you can lose the session. It’s great on paper but fighting enemies goes incredibly slow. In the later levels, you’re not really dealing that much damage to your enemies, resulting in very long sessions. You can easily solve this problem by crafting weapons or gaining new, better party members but both of those will cost you real money. The game is free to download but if you want to have a fluent game, you’ll need to pay the price.

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Although the fights are rather slow, the developers did a great job on the design. The battles look good and the animations of the attacks are great. Especially Jack has some rather great animations where he transforms into several objects to really hurt the enemy. Traditional match-three players won’t find this battle mechanism interesting but it’s definitely something that’s rather new for the genre.

Different tiles, chests and loot

This brings us to the other main part of the game, the actual match-three gameplay. At first sight it looks the same as any other game released in the genre but Puzzle Quest does feature some innovations. You have mice running over your tiles for example, if they manage to reach the top, they’ll inflict a lot of damage to your party. You also have tiles that will explode after a certain time and of course the classic rainbow tiles. Aside of this the field is also filled with keys and chests, if you manage to destroy these with tiles of the same color, you’ll get the items at the end of the game. Enemies often drop bags of loot that can be collected using the same strategy.

Important is also the fact that each character has its own color, of course every character can break tiles of any color but if you manage to break tiles of the character’s color, you’ll fill a meter. Once this meter is filled you can use the character’s special attack. A lot of thought went into the game and it’s clear that the developers wanted to deliver a traditional and yet innovating game.

Crafting items and buying stuff to advance

We sure had some fun with this Puzzle Quest thanks to those great mechanics but we did have some troubles with the crafting of items. You need to craft items in order to create better armor or weapons for your party. A great idea but you need a lot of resources to do so and those aren’t cheap. You can find everything you need in the free game but that will take you forever. The game forces you to spend some real cash in order to advance and that’s really a shame.

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The biggest problem with it however, is the fact that the game freezes at certain points. We had to restart our game a couple of times during the crafting of items, it looked like the server couldn’t handle our request. Worse is when the game freezes near the end of a level, forcing you to restart the entire level. We do hope that this problem gets solved with a patch in the future. Also be warned that this game needs a constant internet connection so playing it on the bus on your way home won’t be possible all of the time, truly a shame.

Conclusion:

Adventure Time: Puzzle Quest isn’t a bad game at its core. The great and classic Adventure Time humor and dialogue are translated incredibly well to the mobile market. The match-three gameplay also works great and offers some fresh challenges thanks to the special tiles and turned based combat. The expensive resources and sudden freezes are standing in the way of a truly great score. It’s fun to try since it’s free but don’t expect a triple A puzzler.

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Score: 3 out of 5

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.