I spent much of last weekend working, so when I had time for a break, I wanted to play something requiring neither mental effort nor frantic button-mashing, something I could easily pause or quit when it was time to return to work. For that I usually play either Klondike Solitaire (on PC) or Bejeweled 2 (on Xbox Live Arcade or my PDA).
This time I wanted something a little different. So I chose Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, a game I'd bought on Xbox Live Arcade a few months back and never played again. It got me hooked almost immediately.
When I first read descriptions of the game, I thought winning battles would consist merely of reaching a certain score on a Bejeweled-style board before running out of moves. To my pleasant surprise, I found the puzzle-based combat significantly deeper. Each jewel-match boosts mana or damages the enemy, and the player's character has spells that can have effects on the puzzle grid and the opposing party. One's character can also acquire skills, stats, weapons and items that modify the effects of matching gems or casting spells.
The game's seamless integration of classic RPG elements with Bejeweled-style puzzle solving will provide hours of enjoyment for fans of either genre. I highly recommend trying the demo either on PC or Xbox Live Arcade.