Looking For Magic…

(Editor’s Note: …in all the wrong places? Okay, clever (?) title aside, here’s a TLDR. Do you like Magic? Do you like Puzzle Quest? If your answer is yes to both of these, then give the game a try.)

I’ve discussed the Puzzle Quest line of games on the page. For those of you who are new and don’t want to sift through other articles, I will offer a recap of my history with the games. I started with the titular game of the series on the XBox360 because it was being sold for 5 or 10 bucks. I don’t remember the exact price, but it was cheap enough that I didn’t hesitate to buy it. I’ve also discussed that I have the same problem when Steam has a sale. It didn’t hurt that I’m a sucker for the match-3 type puzzle games. Heck, I’ve been a fan of puzzle video games since I got Tetris with the Game Boy. The match-3 have the same appeal as Tetris without the marathon matches–unless you binge, as I sometimes will. Nevertheless, it is comforting to know that you can pick the game up, play a few rounds, and be done with it in less time than it takes you to—well, I’ll leave it at that and let your imagination take over.

It looks like a demon...on the toilet...playing Candy Crush...and he is on a higher level than I am.
It looks like a demon…on the toilet…playing Candy Crush…and he is on a higher level than I am.

I’ve played all of the big names. Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook, the original Puzzle Quest on the XBox360, and I even finally discovered Candy Crush a couple of years ago. That one has occupied my free time more than any other game over the last few months. It’s just the way that these games work. They feel dumb and easy. Then, the difficulty ramps up and you’re playing them as much as you can to get that “one more level”. They show you how your friends are doing and it ramps up the competitive spirit that much more. I’ve even done something that I never thought I’d do. I’ve spent real money on these games. Candy Crush, especially, hooks me with their weekend “deals” about once every two months. I have since found other games because I’m stuck on one of the Candy Crush “hard” levels and have been for as long as I can remember. I’m not going to spend money on extra levels or anything because I’ve learned that lesson. My high–or is that low–point came during my Marvel Puzzle Quest playing days. I spent more money on that game than I care to admit. What can I say? I’m a sucker for Marvel and have not thrown my money away on comics for the better part of a decade and a half. Might as well turn that good money into ultimately useless characters for this silly game because, #YOLO

Okay, Sam, I get the point.
Okay, Sam, I get the point.

Enough of that silliness. Time for some on topic silliness. The reason that I mention my history with puzzle games in general, and Puzzle Quest in particular, is that a new one has been released. Most likely several have been released. One, in particular, caught my attention. I’ve written about it before on the page because I’ve been excited about it since it was announced. I write, of course, about Magic Puzzle Quest. They’ve done such a great job with Marvel Puzzle Quest that I couldn’t wait to see if they could capture that “Magic” again.

Pun not intended, but not exactly discouraged, either.
Pun not intended, but not exactly discouraged, either.

I should know by now to temper my expectations. I’m not saying that it is a bad game. It just feels…incomplete. The story mode in Marvel Puzzle Quest is deep and rich. I would say that is because it is based on recent comic storylines, but even the original Puzzle Quest had good, if generic, lore. In both cases, many levels are introduced with dialogue that helps to keep you immersed in the fantasy of a game that quickly gets boring otherwise. Given that precedent, I expected the newest version to follow, if not surpass, that standard. It falls well short. Most disappointing is that Wizards has stated that they want to be more committed to story and lore. That commitment showed in the latest iteration of the Duels series, but definitely took a step back in Magic Puzzle Quest. The only “story” is a single sentence, most likely just the flavor text from whatever card you happen to be battling. It’s a phenomenal disappointment. Really, though, that’s my only complaint. For someone like me, it’s a big deal. Your mileage, as usual, may vary. The gameplay is the same lame match-3 of all the others. Without an interesting story, the game is simply Candy Crush with Nissa or Liliana instead of the annoying little girl as your protagonist. What, then, keeps me logging in to this one instead of the candy filled cuteness?

That vile, vile cuteness. I see a demon...on the toilet...leading candy minions against me in a war for my soul. It is a war that I am losing...badly.
That vile, vile cuteness. I see a demon…on the toilet…leading candy minions against me in a war for my soul. It is a war that I am losing…badly.

Well, it is a Magic property. The familiarity of the characters and lore make this a more desirable destination if I’m going to be blowing up gems. Add the dimension of being able to summon creatures, play spells, use planeswalker powers, and better freebies to make Magic Puzzle Quest undeniably the choice for match-3 on mobile for me. Let’s talk about those freebies. In Candy Crush, there is a wheel of fortune that may or may not give you something useful. More often than not, the prize is nearly worthless. Magic gives guaranteed prizes every day. Sometimes it is in game currency. At the end of each week, you get a booster pack. I haven’t made it yet, but if you log in each day for a month, you get a fat pack of boosters.

I still prefer Marvel Puzzle Quest for the reasons outlined, but I only have that one on Steam and I don’t trust that my progress will carry over if I download the game onto my tablet. So, whenever I need to blow up gems while I’m…busy…I’ll log into Magic Puzzle Quest and collect cool stuff while I’m at it. I’ll also hope for a better story.

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