Addictively mind-bending puzzler
For a game that looks awful and feels like something you played on a Super NES over a decade ago, Puzzle Kingdoms is hard to put down.
A sequel to the all-conquering Puzzle Quest, Kingdoms closely follows the winning template established by its predecessor; using a board of Tetris-style tiles that move in columns, players must slide the bricks to make coloured groups, these combinations in turn giving players the power to unleash military attacks using virtual armies. The opportunity to customise your troops for specific battles also brings a fresh layer of strategy to the familiar block busting, and a host of minigames that offer different takes on traditional arcade puzzling bring much-needed variety to the brain-melting action.
But while the game is hugely addictive and the budget price is welcome in these difficult financial times the shoddy, 16-bit-style presentation of Puzzle Kingdoms is shocking, with crummy portraits to introduce your heroes, blocks of tedious text that convey the story, and ugly animations that will horrify modern gamers used to gorging on console eye candy.