In our earlier preview of Puzzle Quest 2 we told you how it would ruin your life with its new single-player questing mode and improved game play. But now that I've seen the Tournament mode in action, I think it has even more life- ruining potential than single player does.
If the words "...adds 50 percent defense for the next 12 turns" excites you, Puzzle Quest 2's Tournament mode is going to be up your alley. It sort of channels the nerdy pleasures of card games like Magic the Gathering and has hints the careful thought that goes into games like Chess. It's delightfully geeky, and much like the previously mentioned games, requires some serious time allocation.
Puzzle Quest 2's Tournament Mode has you picking a roster of four characters from a mix of those available in the main game. After your selection you'll go head-to-head with your opponent, with your first pick going up against theirs. If your first guy/beast/hero dies, your next one goes against his first. The first player to take out all four of a roster is the winner.
From what I saw, especially with better players, a full tourney could take hours. The roster goes back and forth...unless you suck. Or are not using proper strategy. I asked one of the producers from Infinite Interactive about how long he's seen matches go. He told me that in-office rounds could be an hour long, which could make Tournaments go for four hours or more!
What makes this mode so deep is that each of your roster has its own strengths, weaknesses, and spells. It's all about strategy on top of strategy as you'll use your puzzle smarts to play the board to obtain the power you need to cast spells and attacks. If you read our earlier preview you'd know that each character can equip a weapon, and that new Gauntlet game pieces let you collect points to perform an actual attack against an opponent's hit points directly. Some of the most exciting parts of Tournament game play involved a strong weapon that was buffed by spells that could take off huge chunks of an opponent's life. The heavy damage you can inflict with these weapons adds a whole new dynamic to two-player puzzle gaming.
What's even scarier is that this mode is available both online and off, which means that when you finally kick your opponent out of your house for beating you, you can go online and demand a rematch after he gets home.
Puzzle Quest 2 is coming to the Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS this summer.