Puzzle Kingdoms Review
Wii | DS
Puzzle Kingdoms box art
System: Wii, PC, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Infinite Interactive 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Zoo Games 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: May 5, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The story isn't the point here, really; it's just an excuse for what's essentially a long game of Risk. That's good, because unless you read carefully, it doesn't make a lot of sense. Basically, there's a famine in the land of Etheria, and you need to save the place from evil forces by conquering everything in it. As the plot unravels, you learn more about these forces and feel a little more convinced you're on the side of good. There's some voiceover work, but for the most part, it's Infinite Interactive's trademark awful dialogue, written in speech bubbles as usual, that advances the tale.

Puzzle Kingdoms screenshot

You can skip the story altogether by playing quick matches. These include bouts with A.I. opponents, mini-games, and matches against other humans. The "hotseat" multiplayer is local only, requiring that you pass the DS, so it's not a very practical way to play.

From a technical and presentation standpoint, the game is solid, but not spectacular. The graphics are simple, conveying little more than basic images of the map screen landscape and the pieces of the puzzle, with no noticeable glitches or flaws. The music evokes that of Braid, and the sound effects do their thing without becoming distracting. The stylus works well for shifting sets of blocks around and makes navigating the game's big map a breeze. In other words, you won't notice much about this game aside from the gameplay, and that's just fine.

Puzzle Kingdoms is a decent follow-up to Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, and so was Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, so it's unusual that the games' different publishers chose to release the two so closely to each other. Those truly addicted to this kind of gameplay should pick the game up, as should those who preferred Challenge of the Warlords' ancient fantasy setting to the futuristic sci-fi universe of Galactrix.

More casual fans should wait until they get sick of Galactrix before shelling out dough for Kingdoms, though. Then again, at this rate, there'll probably be another Infinite Interactive puzzle-RPG title to choose from by that point.

By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Freelance Writer

There's nothing impressive, but nothing embarrassingly bad, either.
The stylus works well, both for arranging puzzle pieces and for navigating the map screen.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music evokes that of Braid, and the sound effects do what they need to.

Play Value
This game is very similar to the Puzzle Quest titles, and like them it can become boring if played for too long. For those willing to play in short bursts, though, Puzzle Kingdoms provides hours of fun.

Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • From the creators of the Puzzle Quest games.
  • Order troops across the map, conquering cities through innovative puzzle gameplay.
  • By matching corresponding gems on the game board, players inflict damage on enemy forces and build mana that can be used to perform devastating attacks.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Puzzle Kingdoms screenshot - click to enlarge Puzzle Kingdoms screenshot - click to enlarge Puzzle Kingdoms screenshot - click to enlarge Puzzle Kingdoms screenshot - click to enlarge

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