Marvel Puzzle Quest

There’s been talk about this in other threads, but I think it wants its own.

The facts:
Yes, it’s a new Puzzle Quest game. And yes, it’s Marvel themed. But there are also a lot more differences than most folks would want. First and foremost, it’s free-to-play, with all the good and bad that entails. And while it’s the same publisher (D3), it doesn’t look like Infinite Interactive (the original Puzzle Quest devs) had anything to do with this. And for better or worse, a lot of the rules have been pretty severely overhauled.

But, at its core, you’re still playing a Bejeweled clone and using abilities to damage your opponents to kill them.

It’s currently in a ‘preview mode’, whatever that means. I think that’s their label for what amounts to a public beta with limited content.

At first, I was struggling to even grok the new rules, make sense of the UI, and understand the game’s meta structure. I would call the learning curve somewhat steep, but things are so easy at the beginning that you’ll fumble around, win every match by a wide margin, and eventually start picking up the mechanics and UI.

Your ‘character’ for any given battle is actually a team of 3 super heroes/villains chosen from your total roster of characters. Generally, you’ll want to use your 3 strongest folks, but not always.

There are 2 currencies. ISO-8 flows liberally, and is what you use for a lot of leveling up, buying common heroes, and other misc things. Then there are Hero Points, which are premium currency used to buy new higher-end heroes or upgrades. Hero Points can be earned for free, but they’re hard to come by.

Hero management is sort of weird, and is based on comic book covers. A cover = a hero. But you can also spend a cover to level up one of your identical cover’s skills. This essentially means the first copy of a cover unlocks a hero, while subsequent copies level that cover up. But then there’s a seperate concept of hero level, which you can level up to the combined total of skill levels. If this sounds complicated, it is. It takes a while to grok.

Also, levels seem highly inconsistent across characters. A level 3 rare character could be more powerful than a level 10 common character, with more hit points and more powerful skills. I think that’s meant to reflect that 3 rare covers for a character is harder to collect than 10 common covers, but it makes it very hard to compare team overall strength in both pvp and pve.

At first, I was apalled at this abomination of a game, especially when expecting something truer to the previous games. But once I let go of my expectations from the franchise, and as I started to understand some of the details of the game, I found myself more and more enthralled by it. I’m curious to see what I end up thinking of it in the end, but I can say for now, I’m enjoying it quite a bit, warts and all.

So how much does it push/require IAPs?

Tried it, hated it. The gameplay is halting and unnecessarily obscure, the meta game is uninteresting, and the IAPs are designed to screw the collector-mentality-guy hard. Deleted within an hour of download.

I played Puzzle Quest 1 and 2 and loved them both, but this game confuses the hell out of me.

Sounds a bit like they’ve mashed it up with Puzzle & Dragons…IAP, team of collectible units, multiple level progression tracks. I’ll have to check it out. Sounds like it could be good if you just accept that the only reason the Puzzle Quest name is on there is to signal that it’s a match-3 with RPG progression.

No kidding. My head was spinning for the first few hours I played it. I think now that I understand what’s going on, I like it. But it’s not really Puzzle Quest…

Imagine a world much like our own, but with an important difference: in this world, Puzzle Quest Marvel Dark Whatever is structured like the original one, but with marvel characters. Now imagine it also had the equivalent of item making and monster taming. Finally, imagine it kept the new gameplay mechanics, like team fighting and persistent tiles with special effects.

We are living in the dark mirror of that world.

Also, in that world the Great War never happened, but this is more important.

I disagree. This feels very much like Puzzle Quest–or maybe a mash-up of Puzzle Quest and Marvel vs Capcom. By that, I mean that the 3vs3 structure of the game changes up the gameplay considerably.

This game is considerably more challenging than PQ. The fact that the stones for collecting mana/energy also do damage means you can’t turtle to nearly the same degree as you could in PQ, save to do your best to deny a particular color to your opponent to keep them from using a nasty ability.

There are a lot of things I don’t like about the freemium structure, particularly the need to play a mission multiple times to get all the rewards, but the gameplay is very good. With a stronger main quest line, this could have easily been made into a full retail release, and I would have fallen all over myself to buy it.

I may have sounded harsh above but really, I agree with you. I really like what they’ve done with the gameplay. It’s everything else I don’t like. Well, and I wish for the return of the monster taming/spell learning/artificer stuff as well.

I didn’t actually think the replaying missions aspect was due to it being a free-to-play game as much as just a way to add replayability to the nodes it had on the map. It doesn’t seem inherently better or worse than walking back and forth on the original PQ map trying to spawn random battles.

As for the campaign, agreed, but it also seems this was just an initial bit of content. I’m curious to see what their content roll-out plans are. That’s an upside of free-to-play – that if the game is successful you can get a roll-out of big features and new content at a reasonable pace. Marvel Avengers Alliance on Facebook is a testiment to that.

So, I went back and beat some hero coin thingies out of some of the different missions and decided to buy some characters, hoping to get lucky. Both the ones I got are only two stars, which was a bummer, but both have useful powers. Magneto has a power that let’s you change three normal gems of your choice to blue, which rocks with Storm. Whenever a green match is made, Daken creates a red tile that increases damage from matches. Could have been better, but not too bad.

Obvious but helpful tip: in general, any time you’re given teammates for a match you should do what you can to let them soak up the damage, to the extent possible while still winning the match. Since they’re not actually your characters, there’s no recovery time for them to heal or revive if you’re going to repeat the match.

Unrelated, it looks like you could slowly grind for more ISO forever if you had the patience, but Hero Points are limited to the missions where they’re specifically offered as one time rewards. So far, I’ve needed Hero Points for buying covers, and buying more slots for my collection. Is that all that Hero Points will be needed for? I’m trying to decide how free I should be with spending the few I’ve earned, I don’t want to find out down the line that after a certain threshold my characters will need HP instead of ISO for normal leveling up or something.

I downloaded this because I loved the original PQ, but it triggered my insta-delete threshold by sending notifications to nag me to play, despite having unchecked all the boxes in the options sceen.

I believe they’re used to replenish the medkits that can skip injured downtime. I haven’t used any of them yet because I’m not sure if they replenish by any other means…anyone know?

And yeah, now that I’ve played it I agree there isn’t much PAD in the design. I was thinking that based on the stuff being discussed without seeing how it fits together.

Medkits replentish automatically with time, just like health itself. So if you’re planning to be away for a while after a play session, you can burn through your health and medkits on tough battles right before you stop for a while.

I’m not sure how fast they come back. I noticed a timer of just over an hour on them the one time I thought to look, but it seemed like an odd place for a timer to start, so maybe it’s tied to clock events like every 2 hours or something.

It’s like an hour and 12 minutes or something weird, I think. Btw, if you level a character up, it also heals them.

Don’t really blame you for that. It’s rather annoying.

Arguably one of P.A.D.'s most important features, ability to assemble collection of critters, is clearly reflected here. P.A.D. seems to have had trouble gaining converts stateside but surely one of best routes to inspiring “gotta catch em all” mentality for western audiences is using iconic comic book superheroes. Whether game succeeds will depend on whether players will either stick with grind or shell out money to unlock characters.

You guys who said it was under-documented weren’t kidding. Yeesh. I downloaded it (android) and have no idea what’s going on. I figured out that the gem symbols correspond to swapping characters, but I have no idea what the economy for building towards my super abilities are, or how I activate them, etc. This is barely even a beta yet.

Some quick things to help you get oriented:

-The icons on normal gems correspond to the hero that will come to the foreground when you match them. Storm is a lightning bolt, iron man is a circle thing, etc.

-The icons that appear on a gem do so because that’s the character that will do the most damage when that color is matched. Let’s say Iron Man does the most damage on your team when red is swapped – you’ll see his icon on them. If he gets stunned, the next highest character will be there. If everyone on your team is stunned (or KO’d), you’ll skip your turn.

-Unlike old PQ titles, you don’t see your colored mana balance or abilities on board by default. Swipe left or right in the portrait area up top to see balances.

-Press any gem to see what the gem does. For normal gems, it will tell you who will do damage when matched, and how much. If the gem has been upgraded (say, with a sword, a shield, a web, etc), pressing it will tell you its special behavior.

-Pressing any gem of a color will also list any special abilities you can use with mana of that color. When I’m using an unfamiliar team composition, I like to press every color to see which are largely pointless to match. i.e. if I don’t have anyone that can use blue mana for abilities, I deprioritize that.

Hopefully that helps get you situated, at least for the core gameplay.

I never got far with the original Puzzle Quest, so this might be obvious, but so far, it seems if you’re fighting a real villain/character (e.g. Doctor Doom, Juggernaut), they’ll actually be playing against you in the same way you play, matching gems and affecting the board directly, doing a little damage with each match, and using matched gems to fuel special attacks.

When you’re fighting henchmen (generic snipers, soldiers, whatever), they don’t seem to actually match gems, they just have their specific special attacks, usually in the form of starting a countdown on a gem which triggers an attack on you in that many turns (unless you match the gem first). This might also destroy a row or area of gems when it triggers, but they’re never just matching gems to build up “mana”. I assume their mana just replenishes at some fixed rate to control how frequently they initiate these attacks.

Is that an accurate understanding of the enemy types?