Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Puzzle Quest

Go To

Puzzle Quest is a series of games from Infinite Interactive. At their base, they are Match Three Games with RPG Elements. In each game, battles are fought by matching up various gems and other symbols on a grid. Depending on what the player matches up, the gems will turn into one of various types of mana or energy to use for spells/attacks, damage to the enemy, or bonus experience or money. The player can expand their power through the use of various mini-games, which represent Item Crafting, learning new spells, or leveling up.

The games in the series include:

  • Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords: The first and most popular game in the series, based on the award-winning Warlords series of Turn-Based Strategy games.

    There are four classes, each of which with different priorities for the different gem types. For example, the warrior focuses on dealing more damage with skulls while the mage uses mostly red mana. Character stats more or less correlate with each of the gem types, increasing their effect when matched up.

    Except for your home city (which is already under your banner), all main cities on the map can be captured. This enables you to access a keep in that city, where you can train mounts, research spells, and use runes to improve weapons. You will also receive gold each time you visit a captured city.

    After a PC demo was released, the game was ported to the Nintendo DS and PSP and released in early 2007. It performed surprisingly well with players and critics and ended up being ported to pretty much every system, including an expansion for the Xbox 360 and iPhone versions.

    A remastered port, titled Puzzle Quest: The Legend Returns, would release on Nintendo Switch with additional content not available in previous releases, including additional playable classes and missions.
  • Puzzle Quest: Galactrix: a science fiction-themed follow-up, released in February 2009. Your character is a newly-minted recruit from a MegaCorp that trains and employs those gifted with psionic abilities. While on a routine investigative mission, you and your mentor, Sable, stumble across a decimated research station and evidence of a galaxy-spanning threat. The game uses a hexagonal grid rather than an orthogonal one, and the direction that gems enter the field usually depends on the direction the selected piece moved. It suffered from similar supply shortages upon release.
  • Puzzle Kingdoms was released in May 2009. It takes place in a remixed version of Warlord's world of Etheria and adds RTS-style troop and resource management to the mix. You play as the heir to your small kingdom's leadership. You take it upon yourself to find the source of the sudden famine that has stricken your land, only to stumble across a plot by the god of famine. It features a puzzle style similar to Pokémon Trozei.
  • Puzzle Chronicles was released mid-April 2010 for many systems, featuring a desert theme and a gameplay style similar to Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. In it, you play as a member of a desert tribe looking to free his enslaved people and gain revenge on the slavers that captured them. Puzzle Quest 2 appears to be based on this game.
  • Puzzle Quest 2 is a true sequel to the original. Styled more on MMORPGs, including a town hub and NPCs with exclamation points over their heads who give you quests, it was released on June 22, 2010 for DS, Windows, iPhone and iPad, and the Xbox Live Arcade. This is a considerably simplified and easier version, though possibly with more balanced pvp.
  • Puzzle Quest 3 is another sequel, this one made with 3D graphics. It's available in Early Acceess for Android.
  • There is also a spinoff called Marvel Puzzle Quest that combines slightly altered mechanics with a storyline and characters based on the Marvel: Avengers Alliance universe.note 
  • Gems of War is a game from the same developers (with some outside assistance) that, while not officially part of the series, shares a lot of features with it.
  • Magic: The Gathering Puzzle Quest is another spinoff (also by the same developers) that blends the gameplay of Puzzle Questnote  and, well, Magic: The Gathering.

These games provide examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes present throughout the series 
  • Boring, but Practical: Several starter spells and weapons which players will use throughout the game.
  • Cap: Level 50 (60 in the Switch remaster) in PQ, Galactrix, and PQ2; 20 in Kingdoms - though you have up to 12 Heroes to level up there. The original Puzzle Quest allows you to increase your stats for gold, though, and those aren't capped, until the Switch remaster which gives a limit of your current level times two.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The series is very polarizing on the The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard/Artistic License – Statistics scale. There's a strong belief in the fandom that the computer either predicts or outright changes the falling gems in its favor, but nothing short of looking at the underlying code will settle the arguments over whether that's actually true or just the players' selective memory.
    • Lampshade Hanging: An April Fool's website by the creator explained how to turn off AI cheating. Also, one of the achievements in Puzzle Quest 2 is "Cheating AI: be defeated by an opponent on their first turn in any single player game mode".
    • Marvel Puzzle Quest has swerved unabashedly into this territory with the addition of Assist Characters. You get to choose one from amongst your tokens before the match begins, and any of the up-to-six characters who are actually fighting in the match are off-limits. The opponent suffers no such limitations. This was lessened with an overhaul that allows both players to use the same character on their team, though you still can't use a character on your main team and also use a Team-Up power from any variation of that character.
    • The Magic the Gathering version has the Epic Challenges where the computer starts with supports on the board before your first turn.
  • Convenient Questing
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Leaning too heavily on one type of mana/energy can leave you at the mercy of a more well-rounded enemy, doubly so in Warlords if the enemy in question has resistance to your favored mana type.
  • Death or Glory Attack: Deathbringer in Warlords, Bola Mines in Galactrix.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: Big-time.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: There are quests, which involve doing puzzles.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Several gameplay elements do not impact the storyline at all. Turned up to ludicrous levels in Galactrix.
    • In the original PQ, you can invade and take over entire cities as tyrannical overlord, and nobody bats an eye in the main plotline (or cares that you're the tyrant of their city when they send you on quests).
  • Glass Cannon: The Wizard class in Warlords; Ram, Catapult, and Trebuchet units in Kingdoms; and, most especially, the Sorcerer class in PQ2.
  • Item Crafting: Via a mini-game. One of the series' biggest hooks, although it was left out of PQ2.
  • Level Scaling: Enemies are automatically scaled to your level in the story modes of 'Warlords and Kingdoms.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The crafting and spell research systems. Even worse in Galactrix, with time limits and junk blocks. To elaborate, it's game over when there are no moves left on the board. It is possible to prevent some dead ends by thinking a lot of steps ahead, but ultimately you'll still have to cross your fingers and hope the AI will be benevolent. For once.
  • Mega Manning: You can learn enemy spells (or earn enemy equipment in Galactrix) via a mini-game.
  • Mook Chivalry: All battles are one-on-one. When you encounter groups of foes, they're usually fought in sequence. Averted in Kingdoms, where every unit with enough mana can attack in the same turn.
  • Point Build System: You get 4-5 points per level up. In Warlords, you can purchase more at your citadel.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: The only real change in any game is in how Princess Serephine interacts with your character in Warlords. Otherwise, gender choice only affects whether characters refer to you as male or female. PQ2 adds in voice-overs in male or female voice.
  • Support Power
  • Unpredictable Results: Multiple spells/attacks destroy random gems on the board for various effects. Some other skills randomly transform gems into a certain color, skulls, or even wildcard spaces. In Kingdom, units with Ranged attacks will attack a random enemy unit.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss/That One Boss: Dugog in Warlords, the Soulless Dreadnaught in Galactrix.

    Challenge Of The Warlords 
  • Abnormal Ammo: The Gobshooter. It hurls Goblins.
  • All-Powerful Bystander: The elder dragon Kelthurax, who would rather sleep than find out who kidnapped ALL of his dragon brethren (save Flicker).
  • Artificial Stupidity: Despite all the claims of the AI acting as though it knows what the offscreen gems are, it still makes some pretty obvious blunders. Namely, not using an available skull match or damage spell when doing either one WILL finish you off (even if you're not equipping anything that has even a 10% chance of lessening damage).
  • Boring, but Practical: A shining example in Warlords is to simply drain your enemy's Red Mana through items (like the Orcish Mang) or spells. These are not particularly flashy, but Red Mana is tied to about 90% of the damaging spells in the game, denying your opponent this resource prevents them from doing too much (in the case of Dugog, the first Boss, this stops him from using ANY of his spells). Extra points if your build uses a lot of blue mana and you use a Wightblade (which drains an enemy's Red Mana and gives it to you as Blue).
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Nightblades in Plague Lords and the iPod version.
  • Bowdlerise: The Switch remaster gives Harpy and Medusa more conservative clothes.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: Darkhunter's backstory, as revealed through his side quests; the girl to whom he was engaged has been turned into an undead monster.
  • Brick Joke: When you acquire the minotaur god Lord Sartek's Ribs, if Drong is in your party, he expresses a desire to eat them; the player character promises he can eat the next god they come across. Guess what happens after you kill Lord Bane, his brother?
  • Continuity Nod: The game takes place in Etheria, the setting of the Warlords 4X series. The background of the story takes place 500 years after the Banewars, the main campaign of Warlords 3.
  • Cool Big Sis: If the player character is female and the Serephine sidequests are pursued, Serephine will make remarks indicating that she views the player character in this light. The player character does not altogether share this view.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The player character is often this, especially when dealing with Drong, Serephine, or some of the more silly quests they're asked to go on.
  • Death Seeker: Darkhunter looks like this pretty often, especially when you learn about his tragic past. He probably relegated himself to perdition long before Greythane declared such.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?
  • Dragon Rider: Elistara. Do the sidequests properly and she'll form a bond with Flicker.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: One of the engineers for Marvel Puzzle Quest even said the boss battles were "waves of frustration" that made him "nearly snap my DS in half."
  • Expansion Pack World
  • Extreme Omnivore: Drong. He even eats Bane. Or at least a portion of him.
    • Even the corpse of a god seems relatively believable compared to diamonds and molten lava.
  • Follow the Leader: Gyromancer on X-Box Live was clearly intended to capitalize on the success of Puzzle Quest. It's basically Bejeweled Twist Puzzle Quest. "Puzzle RPG" has since become a full-genre of its own, with Puzzle & Dragons being the biggest example.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The iPod version had two nasty bugs, both eventually fixed:
    • One would cause your saved heroes to get spontaneously deleted.
    • In the other, using the Home button to close the game in the middle of a cutscene could cause the event flag not to trigger and leave you unable to cancel the mission and restart, possibly resulting in an Unintentionally Unwinnable scenario. In the other versions, the game would simply restart the cutscene.
    • The iPhone version would randomly erase saved characters or lock out incomplete missions. The announced level cap increase isn't there (you still max out at 50) and the game possesses several harmless, but annoying recurring graphical glitches (most notably, replacing the images of multiple enemy types on the world map with that of an Arboleth).
    • Not quite game breaking, but the original Playstation Portable release was misprogrammed so that allies' abilities never activated.
    • The Nintendo Switch remaster used to give foes which are about level 5 or higher absurd amounts of HP if you've set the system to a non-English language, with foes often having 1200 or more HP, effectively making them unbeatable (grinding doesn't help, as they gain 300 more HP with each level). People usually found the glitch when fighting the Rogue Skeleton or the Giant Rat. Thankfully, this bug has been fixed quickly.
  • Giant Spider: Comes in three flavors: a usual one, one that howls like a wolf, and a fire-breathing one. The latter is the favored mount of Fighter and Wizard players.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Averted; your character is devoted to The High Queen Gwendholyn, who by all appearances is a just and benevolent ruler.
  • Gratuitous Princess: Only two of the potential party members are female, and one, Serephine, is a princess. She's arguably the most useless of them all, and is possibly only there because of this trope.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming: When given the option to do wrong, you WILL be nagged to do the right thing. And punished for not doing it.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Syrus Darkhunter has a human mother and an elven father, and is not entirely welcomed by either race. It's part of the reason for his Deadpan Snarker personality.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The arkliches come equipped with an item that turns one random tile into a +5 skull for each 8 points of damage they take. However, if the skulls explode immediately because they were spawned in alignment with the skulls already on board, it will count as part of your turn and the enemy will take damage (and spawn more skulls). If you get lucky, your random attack may cause the arkliche to (figuratively speaking) spontaneously explode mid-battle.
  • Honor Before Reason: The elder dragon Kelthurax is extremely old and powerful, and a loner who doesn't like to be awakened or bothered. In one of Elistara's quests, she feels honor-bound not only to wake him and tell him of her mount's death, but ask him to be her new mount. Amazingly, he lets her live.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Many monsters can be captured and used as mounts. Including giant spiders, giant rats, wyverns, griffons... Also, we meet a Dragonknight — a member of the order of dragon riders.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: The forging difficulty levels start off normal enough and seem similar to spell difficulty levels, but then they go far beyond: Easy->Moderate->Hard->Very Hard->Extremely Hard->Insane->Almost Legendary->Legendary->Almost Godlike->Godlike. The difficulty of the item also determines one part of its name.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Dronk the ogre, being an Extreme Omnivore who's after all sorts of creatures to eat, is not above eating one of his own kind.
  • It Was with You All Along: The Shield of Albion, which is really the broken shield your father gives you early in the game.
  • Jerkass: Emperor Selentius. After helping him with various problems, he responds to a request from Queen Gwendholyn for help against the undead problem with, basically, "Not my problem." Even his own subjects think he's useless and corrupt.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Flicker.
  • The Load: Princess Serephine. Putting her in your party gives you a nice amount of gold and a useful item, and she comes in handy if/when you take on the Knightly Order subquest. But other than unlocking a couple of sidequests (all of which involve rescuing or protecting her from the men her father sends to bring her back), she's pretty useless and can be safely cut loose to make room for Winter or Elistara.
    • Galnoth (Plague Lords/iOS) is even worse. He gives you a 15% boost in green mana resistance when fighting elves or dwarves, and nothing else. Did we mention you'll only fight Dark Dwarves, who use red-mana based spells?
  • Magikarp Power: The Broken Shield, which can become the powerful Shield of Albion. The Wizard class counts as well, since you don't really have the stats or equipment to overcome its pitiful attack stats and HP until deep into the game.
  • Missing Mom: Flicker's side quests involve his searching for other dragons in general, and his mother in particular.
  • Motor Mouth: Khalkus. Whomever he's talking with constantly has to interrupt him in order to make him get to the point.
  • Multiple Head Case: Dugog, the first boss, is a two-headed ogre. His extra head gives him an extra turn whenever he obtains gold.
  • Multiple Endings: A choice in one of the first-chapter quests can unlock the availability of a different ending.
  • Nerf: The Switch remaster makes several cheap tactics less effective, such as giving a cooldown to Stun, setting a limit to how many points you can get from the temple, and lowering the effectiveness of weapons crafted with runes.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: So are the Minotaurs.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: Minotaurs play an important part in the game. These include party member Sunspear and Lord Sartek, the minotaurs' god, who has the form of a huge minotaur himself. Also, among the bad guys there are minotaur slavers, undead Skelotaurs (minotaur skeletons), undead minotaur Doomknights, and even a giant clockwork Mechataur.
  • Optional Party Member: Only Darkhunter, Khalkus, and Sunspear are automatically added to your party.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Both dwarven men and women sport magnificient beards.
  • Permanently Missable Content: If you follow a certain sub-mission just before you enter Lord Bane's keep, you will lose one of your good-aligned companionsnote  with every step forward.
  • Playing with Fire: Wizards use fire for everything, up to and including healing themselves.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Firewalkers.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Even though the Queen doubts the undead could rise, she nonetheless sends you in to figure out what all the hubub is about. Yup, it's the undead!
  • Rebellious Princess: Serephine.
  • Repeatable Quest: Many quests are repeatable, such as an early quest to patrol the area for monsters.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Also scorpions, bats, spiders, and wasps.
  • Runaway Fiancé: Serephine.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: The mission "The Missive," right at the beginning of the game. Whether your missive is a feint or not depends on whether or not you defeat the Thief. Defeat him, your missive's the genuine article. He defeats you, it's a decoy.
  • Schizophrenic Difficulty: The Runekeepers' levels are relative to the strength of the Rune they protect. The problem is that the power of the run is not relative to when you can find it - most notably, the Rune with a basic effect of granting Water mana is located in one of the final locations you unlock. This leads to a fight with a Runekeeper who is likely not even half your level.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Lord Sartek... at least compared to Lord Bane. A variation, though, as he was broken into 101 pieces rather than actually sealed somewhere.
  • Shout-Out: A few.
    • Khalkus the dwarf looks remarkably like Gimli from the movies.
    • Another for The Lord of the Rings: In the film of The Two Towers, Aragorn tells Éowyn that it's hard to tell male dwarves from female dwarves because of their beards, and she laughs. In the game, the player character meets a female dwarf named Khrona... who has a beard.
    • The elves are ruled by King Oberon and Queen Titania. (You only meet her, but one of the rumors you can learn in a tavern identifies the king.)
  • Smug Snake: Emperor Selentius.
  • Spirit Advisor: Sunspear, after completing the "Age of Honor" subquests.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: Once you get to the Realms of War, Drong will start getting curious as to how stone tastes. Granite, porphyry, sandstone... you get the idea. He invariably describes the stuff as tasting like chicken. Although hard chicken, or gritty chicken. Then again, one of these quests triggers a rumor in Gluk, which reveals that ogres are notorious for nasty-tasting, haphazardly-designed meals. Some sages' explanation? That ogres don't have taste buds.
  • Undead Counterpart: Skelotaurs are Minotaurs who are Skeletons, which is why they can to charge like the former and drain Mana/create Red Skulls like the latter, plus they have the ability to drain Green Mana with Bone Strike.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: Many spells can be learnt by the player by capturing the monster that uses them (by solving a puzzle) and then learnt in the citadel (by means of a special game mode). A few spells can also be accessed by capturing a mount. However, in all cases, the player has higher mana costs than the monster that normally uses them (or the class that learns them normally).
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Opt for the less moral choice in most side missions, and you'll get stuck with a puny reward or miss out on a far superior one.
  • Warring Natures: One of the possible party members was Cyrus Darkhunter, half-elf, half-human and not really welcomed by either race.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Releasing Moarg the warlock starts the player down this path, though you wouldn't know it until late in the game when Syrus calls you out on lying to him that you did slay Moarg. Despite your attempt to explain yourself that Moarg gave you information, Syrus accuses you of working with Bane before leaving the party permanently. You can then embark on a sidequest to drink from a blood-red lake for immortality, though this causes some other party members to call you out on the obvious trap, all but begging you not to do it before abandoning you step after step.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Princess Serephine's support ability uses this trope to improve your battle skill against honorable opponents that don't like to fight women.
    • Which is kinda weird if your character is a woman. Maybe they are only opposed to fighting ladies?

  • Beehive Barrier: the shields in Galactrix, at least as represented on the menus.
  • Fake Longevity: The minigame for opening the leapgates that are used to travel between star systems. They're all closed initially, they're everywhere on both main- and side-quest paths, they have a small chance of closing after a period of time, they have a time limit, and chains that normally help you can just eat up time when you're hacking them. Finally, you don't even get any experience or other rewards by hacking them, beyond opening up a new region.
    • Averted in the Steam/PC version. You get experience for hacking the leapgates, and you can also bypass them by using Psi points.
  • Grand Theft Me: Beta Prime takes over the body of Kirine Thwaites... and doesn't give it back!
    • Or not. Nobody ever says it's a theft, after all... And if you attempt to set Beta Prime free during the endgame, she instead chooses to stay with you, under the guise of Kirine Thwaites. Kirine was Beta Prime all along!
  • Hard-Coded Hostility: The Soulless. Every other faction, you can win favor with the through trade. The Soulless, however, have no space ports in any of their systems.
  • MegaCorp: Several, each with defining traits, while still being 'corporations'. Lumina, the religious and political capital of humanity, is not led by a CEO, but by an Emperor. Trident, a weapons company structured more like a military, complete with generals. The MRI, a faction dedicated to furthering Psionic potential in humans. And Cytech, who do robotics. And not much else. Not surprisingly, Cytech is EASILY the least bastardly of the 4.
  • Multiple Endings: Just a minor one, but a choice at the end affects one thing and determines whether you get a epilogue about Humans Are Special or Humans Are Bastards.
  • Omniscient Morality License: Apparently trying to save the galaxy justifies all manner of atrocities. All manner being about two.
  • Shout-Out: ED24 is clearly inspired by Marvin from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

    Puzzle Chronicles 
  • Barbarian Hero: The protagonist is a paper-thin Conan imitation. In fact, the whole game is basically one long homage to Conan. Including the snake cult!
  • The Beastmaster: The protagonist's spells in this game come from your warbeast (a nasty-looking dog).
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The PSP version of the game had ten-second loading screens even when you opened up the menu to look at your equipment loadout!
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: One of your enemies is a cult of evil snake-men.
  • Ring-Out Boss: Every fight is a ring out fight. Instead of hit points like in other Puzzle Quest games, destroying skulls pushes your side of the puzzle block towards the opponent, leaving them with less and less room to match gems with. If they run out of space, they lose.

    Puzzle Kingdoms 
  • Artifact of Doom: The various Vice Boxes, given out to the leaders of each kingdom, designed to make it difficult to recover the famine (e.g. the box of gluttony causes the leaders to want all the food for themselves.)
  • A Commander Is You: The battles are your army against the opponent's army, rather than one-on-one battles as in Puzzle Quest.
  • Cap: Each kingdom has a point cap. Note that some of your heroes gain points as they gain levels, and therefore sometimes no longer fit in the cap.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: In various kingdoms, defeated lords can be recruited to your party.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    Priestess: Greetings, Your Majesty.
    Player: Please don't call me "Your Majesty."
    Priestess: As you wish, Your Majesty.
  • Lazy Backup: You can only take four Heroes and four different units into a territory, no matter how many of each you have in in your party.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: The Computer utterly ignores the rules regarding item equipping, including the point cap and equipping more than one item of the same category.
  • One-Hit Kill: A sufficiently high-level Magic unit can wipe out a lower-level enemy party with one attack.
  • Straight for the Commander: Defeating the named enemies on will win the kingdom being attacked, and ends the conquest, Only awards gold from directly conquered locations in said map, and it's also not possible to capture each location on some of the kingdoms.
  • Strong Flesh, Weak Steel: Unarmored peasants have higher defensive stats than Battering Rams and Catapults.
  • Timed Mission: New recruits from the tavern require matching a set number of blocks within a time limit (the range normally being around 60-75 seconds).
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: You need gold to acquire and replace different units, as well as gain new artifacts, relics, and spells.

    Puzzle Quest 2 
  • Allegedly Free Game: The mobile version is free, but if you want to leave the first town you have to pay to unlock the game.
  • All Swords Are the Same: No matter how many times you change or upgrade your weapons and armor, your avatar will look exactly the same throughout the entire game.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI will do whatever the help arrow shows, even if it doesn't help them. It will also collect mana it can't use. And if your HP is low enough to be finished off by a weapon attack, sometimes it will use a spell.
  • Badass Preacher: Jarrum Blackstone is first introduced to the player as the priest of Verloren Chapel. Later, he's found in the tower, where he's attempting to rescue the other missing villagers, and he joins your party for the last leg of the adventure.
  • Barrier Warrior: The Assassin class is a mix of this and Glass Cannon. His/her primary ability is to use purple mana to go into "stealth" mode, which is really just using your purple mana as a shield against damage. While in stealth, all of your "-Strike" abilities do double damage. (Strike abilities turn gems into purple gems on the screen as well as damage the opponent, so there's a lot of synergy between covering yourself and hurting the opponent.)
  • The Blacksmith: Chappi the dwarf, who has a store in Verloren. Advance far enough into the dungeon, and he sets up a satellite shop down there among the relics of his lost ancestors. He purchases any inventory items you don't want, sells equipment, and permits upgrades to your existing equipment. However, he does not sell the components needed to make those upgrades; those must be acquired by defeating enemies and looting chests.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Vampires. They have stupidly high rates of shield criticals (cutting damage taken in half, no matter how much or how little), have the egregiously overpowered spell Blood Drain (does damage equal to your current Red Mana total, heals itself for an equal amount, AND knocks your Red Mana down to zero), and spam their special weapon, Vampire Fangs (which inflicts the stackable Poison effect.)
    • That said, Blood Drain is pretty much all they've got. The Vampire Lords, on the other hand... they have Charm (destroys all Skulls and gains life equal to the number of Skulls destroyed), Bat Swarm (halves your defense and causes you to take 5 damage per turn for 3 turns), and Skull Feeder (a passive that gives them a random chance of regaining a stupidly large amount of health every time they match Skulls) in addition to the aforementioned Blood Drain and Vampire Fangs. Good luck, you'll need it.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Beating the Optional Bosses in the handheld and retail PC versions gives you a rather insignificant amount of gold and XP, considering the lengths you'll need to go to in order to defeat them. You don't even get the achievements of the Xbox Live Arcade, iOS, or Steam versions.
  • Cheerful Child: Gess, in Verloren, who invites you to play hide and seek in the dungeon.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: As a nod to everyone who made this complaint about previous games, the devs named one of the achievements "Cheating AI!" — earned by being defeated by an enemy on its first turn.
  • Continuity Nod: The game takes place in Etheria, just like Challenge of the Warlords, some time after the conclusion of that game's story.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Brek the orc shaman. It Makes Sense in Context, as he's not actually a villain.
    • Same with Raltheia, who isn't really a villain either.
  • Demonic Possession: What the Gorgon has done to Raltheia.
  • Doomed Hometown: Verloren. In a subversion, however, it's not your hometown. It's the hometown of the Paladin shown in the opening, who ventured into the nearby abandoned tower many years ago in hopes of saving her people from the evils constantly assailing the community. Said Paladin never returned, and now the player is going to try to help because things seem to be getting worse.
  • Elves Versus Dwarves: According to Chappi, he's the only Dark Dwarf remaining in the area, since the Dark Elves drove the others away when they took control of the tower. The tower used to be home to many Dark Dwarves, and they left many things when they fled.
  • Epic Fail: The name of the achievement for being defeated by an enemy whose health has been whittled down to one point.
    • Conversely, the name of the achievement for beating an enemy when your health is down to one point? Epic Win!
  • Evil All Along: Your in-game guides, The Mother, The Maiden, and The Crone, are revealed to all be a part of the Big Bad.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: In a few rooms in the dungeon, you'll come across a large green gelatinous cube. Its name is... the Gelatinous Cube.
  • Five-Man Band: What your party eventually becomes once all four possible members have been recruited. Unlike in Challenge of the Warlords, however, having the other four members along doesn't really provide any particular advantages beyond being able to add a few extra spells to your arsenal.
  • Forced Tutorial: No matter how many times you start a new game, you begin by fighting a swarm of rats in Verloren, with your in-game guides introducing themselves and showing you how it's done.
  • Friend in the Black Market: Crye, the rat man merchant in Verloren. He's even found in the Shady Market district. He also gives you various side quests, usually involving chasing down one of his errant children and recovering treasure at the same time.
  • Good All Along: Brek the orc shaman is simply trying to make the Sealed Evil in a Can stay that way. Meanwhile, Raltheia is possessed by the daemon Gorgon.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: The soldier Drayle joins you, briefly, once you rescue him in the dungeon. As soon as you get someplace remotely safe, however, he takes off.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: As it turns out, Laurella. Her dad Jarrum is human, her mom Raltheia is an elf.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: The Templar's "Heaven's Wrath" spell, not learned until the level cap is reached.
  • Last of His Kind: Chappi is the last of the Dark Dwarves remaining in Verloren. It's unclear as to where the others went or if they're still alive.
  • Level-Map Display: While dungeon crawling, a mini-map is found in the lower right corner. Clicking on it will bring up a map of the entire dungeon level. Darkened rooms have yet to be entered; rooms with tiny images of a tower inside a blue circle are the locations of Warp Zones; and floating question marks and exclamation points indicate the locations of quest objectives and other significant encounters.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: The Gorgon.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The Yeti. Thanks to its high Strength stat, one cascade can grant him enough red mana to cast "Crushing Kill". Five normal gem matches will get him there as well.
    • On the other hand, clearing red gems (whether that's done by you or the Yeti) will actually hurt it. But it will be healed anytime blue gems are cleared. To make matters worse, it has a spell called "Ice Breath" which changes 14 random gems to Blue Gems — frequently causing it to get several extra turns and fully heal itself. The battle can easily end up wearing on until the Crushing Kill. (Though it's just as prone to Artificial Stupidity as anything else in the game, so just because it can use Crushing Kill, that doesn't mean it will.)
    • The Arch-Lich is also stupidly annoying, thanks to its absurdly high Morale stat making it near-impossible to cast spells. Putting every single skill point into your Intelligence stat is the only way you'll have a reasonable chance of using your spells (and by "reasonable", we mean "slightly higher than 0"), so if your play style relies on them, you're screwed eight ways to Sunday, no questions asked.
    • Occasionally, depending on your stats, you're able to resist spells being cast by the enemies. If you can resist "Crushing Kill" or "Subjugation," either of which is majorly a luck-based occasion, it unlocks one of the achievements.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Crye, the rat merchant, has a constantly-changing large number of children. Either they die frequently (which his side quests would in fact suggest) or he just can't keep track of how many there are... or he's a teller of Blatant Lies. It's hard to say.
  • Master Poisoner: The main allure of playing an Assassin; this is the only class that has access to high-level poisons.
  • Mighty Glacier: Templars, especially later when you gain access to Templar-only plate armor and the Tower Shield. You'll be able to outlast anything short of the Green Dragon. (And you'll even be able to outlast the Green Dragon with the right setup.)
  • Miles Gloriosus: Drayle, one of the soldiers in Verloren.
  • Missing Mom/Disappeared Dad: Laurella's main interest in joining your party is to find her parents, who have disappeared. They're both in the dungeon, and both need rescuing. Once rescued, they join you too.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Gold pieces and purple experience stars in the original game become worth less and less your time as the game progresses; so here, they're gone entirely, replaced with Purple Mana (shadow-element) and Fists of Power, which are used to fuel your weapon/item attacks.
  • Old Soldier: Bram One-Eye, the grizzled veteran in Verloren who provides several of the side quests.
  • One-Hit KO: If True Form Gorgon gets to 60 red mana, she'll cast "Subjugation," a spell that causes you to instantly surrender and lose the battle, no matter how many HP either of you have left.
    • The Yeti has Crushing Kill, which deals 999 damage at 65 red. He's also the second Optional Boss you can face. The Iron Giant has it as well, but doesn't have the Yeti's rapid red mana gain to go with it.
    • Happens for the player character against a few of the mini-bosses, such as the golem who guards the Dark Elf boss; once you amass enough power gems, one hit with the weapon you're given is all it takes.
    • Also, defeating a regular enemy (either in Quest mode or in Endurance mode) on your first turn earns you the "PWN'D!" achievement.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Gorgon has one, but both forms are fought in separate battles.
  • Optional Boss: There are five optional bosses (Kurak the polar bear, the Yeti, the Cave Ogre, the Arch Lich, and the Green Dragon). They're unlocked automatically as you level up, so you can tackle them at your leisure or not at all.
  • Our Dwarves Are Different: The Dark Dwarves were apparently a very intelligent race, based on what you're told when you enter an entire laboratory and library full of research and test-tube experiments that they created. They're still short and talk in the stereotypical fashion for dwarves, though.
    "Le's not was'e m'tyme!"
  • PVP Balanced: Supposedly. But say goodbye to weapons and armors with loads of different effects. Now it's mostly about which one gives more attack. (The secondary effects do return, but only after you've upgraded your item to at least Masterwork level, and even then, the effects are mostly passive stat buffs.)
    • Or, when faced with an enemy with ridiculous DEF capabilities, whichever spells lower defense the most/longest.
  • Replay Value: Depends on your love of the match-three battle, really; however, the devs tried to encourage replay by offering separate achievements for beating the game as each of the four possible warrior classes.
  • Score Screen: Shows up after every battle, letting you know how much XP you've earned and how much gold and other goodies you've taken from your opponent.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Shadowbringer
  • Shout-Out: One of the quests is named "It's a Trap!"
  • Spoiler Opening: When beginning a new game of PQ2, you are told the story of a Paladin, a blonde elf woman rendered in stained glass, who disappeared a long time ago while trying to find the source of the evil inside a tower near her hometown. Get all the way to the end, and you have to fight that self-same woman — who is the Missing Mom of your companion Laurella.
  • Tribal Face Paint: The Barbarian class has some of this.
  • Warp Zone: These spring up throughout the dungeon levels at the site of significant battles or other encounters. Once they appear, they can be used to take the player character to any other known Warp Zone, including the main portal outside the village.
  • Wham Line: "We've all been waiting for you." Spoken by The Crone to reveal that your guides have been part of the Big Bad the whole time.