Puzzle Quest 2 Mage Trainer
While PC and console gamers wait impatiently for the launch of Puzzle Quest 2 (the sequel to D3Publisher’s groundbreaking blend of match-3 and fantasy role-playing gameplay that was the original Puzzle Quest), Puzzle Quest 2 Mage Trainer is a little something to tide them over on Facebook.
Puzzle Quest 2 Mage Trainer strips away the story and a lot of the role-playing elements and focuses on the battles that are at the heart of any Puzzle Quest game.
For those new to Puzzle Quest or needing a refresher, the basic gameplay involves trying to defeat hordes of enemies, with each battle represented as a match-3 puzzle grid where you and an enemy take turns trying to deplete each others’ life bars. Matching three or more skulls causes damage to your opponent, and it can do the same to you. By matching three or more colored gems you’ll charge your mana energy, which can be used to unleash powerful spells. In Mage Trainer you can also match fist symbols that give you AP points that you can use to attack with a weapon.
After winning a certain number of battles you’ll level up and receive boosts to your stats and possibly new spells and weapons as well.
Mage Trainer was clearly created to help build anticipation for the launch of Puzzle Quest 2 – in fact, you can even preorder Puzzle Quest 2 from within the game by clicking on an unobtrusive ad. However, Mage Trainer is clearly a game that could stand on its own and build traction and perhaps its own unique and loyal fanbase on the Facebook platform. That is, if the developers give it some much-needed fleshing out. Beyond a leaderboard, the game does little to exploit the social networking aspects of Facebook. Disappointingly, the “Challenge Your Friends” link, which got me incredibly excited thinking I could play against another live person, was actually just a way for you to invite more friends into the game.
Mage Trainer might be a streamlined version of the Puzzle Quest experience (the fact that you can’t wander a world map, choose which stats to increase, or equip items being examples of that) but the core concept proves as fun as ever regardless of the platform.