Back from a long weekend of puzzle gaming

While I got caught up in Madden fever last week, with the help of some medication I've recovered.

The cure for my Madden ills? Puzzle Games

Since I spent the better part of three months this spring with Puzzle Quest embedded in my DS, I wanted to find something to fill that puzzle game craving. As an aside, if you haven't tried Puzzle Quest (DS, PSP, Xbox Live; and soon PS2 & Wii) you owe it to yourself to give it a tried. The game had some great word of mouth and buzz from the Video Game press back in the spring. If you haven't tried it, download a free demo from Game Daily here and give it a try.

[end Puzzle Quest promotion]

I've split my time this weekend between Picross DS & Planet Puzzle League.

Picross DS is slower paced game (except for the constant timer, adding tension to the puzzles) more in the vein of Sudoku or crossword puzzles. But that description doesn't do it justice. You are solving picture puzzles square-by-square on a grid based upon the numeric clues you are given about how many blocks get filled in each row. The game contains a large sampling of puzzles, from simple 5x5 grids on up. The inclusion of daily puzzles and new puzzle downloads creates enough content to keep coming back for a while. While it's possible to fly through tapping every box to see if it's correct, the challenge comes in getting faster times and fewer errors. I've never been a fan of Sudoku, I'm enjoying this game. For a budget price and the promise of continuing puzzle downloads, this was a worthwhile buy.

My second puzzle game, and the one I think I'll end up spending more time with is Planet Puzzle League. The game itself has been around in a variety of formats for years, matching and clearing 3 blocks, but the inclusion of the touch screen makes the game a easy to pick up, fun to play, and hard to put down. I have not had too much time to really dig into all the modes in the game, but it does include daily training puzzles and multiplayer battles over the internet and local wi-fi. From what I've played so far, this game is definitely filling my Puzzle Quest craving. The action is fast paced. The concepts are easy to understand. But mastering the gameplay and setting up large 3 of a kind chains is hard to master.

Both games provide different puzzle experiences and are great for a quick pick-up and play at a budget price. As the semester starts next week and I'm scrambling to get everything ready, these two games will fill my sparse gaming moments

Images from:
Infinite Interactive
Nintendo .com