Back to barbaric basics in Puzzle Quest 2

Developer Infinite Interactive has announced a return to terra firma for the next installment in the Puzzle Quest series, which will release on XBLA and DS early next spring with nary a spaceship in sight.

I loved the original Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, which struck the perfect balance between gem matching and dungeon crawling. But when its followup, Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, traded high fantasy for zero gravity, and complicated the simplistic but addictive Bejeweled-based gameplay with a confusing hexagonal grid, it’s like all the charm got sucked out of the nearest airlock. Too much time was spent drifting around a rather uneventful universe, trying to jimmy open the space equivalent of locked doors.

Thankfully, D3’s recently released screenshots of the original Puzzle Quest‘s first true sequel are chock full of skulls, ogres and runes, confirming that hacking jumpgates has been replaced with straight up hacking, sword-weilding barbarian style. In addition to returning to the original fantasy formula, Puzzle Quest 2 will introduce a selection of “all new weapons, spells and shields”, allowing players to take on the role of War Mage, Inquisitor, Barbarian or Assassin in their quest to free Verloren from the demon Gorgon. There’s also a tournament and multiplayer mode to keep players coming back for more goblin-battling goodness once the single-player mode has been bested.