Puzzle Quest: The Legend Returns review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: D3Go
Developer: Infinite Interactive
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes
ESRB: E10+

Even though I never played the original Puzzle Quest back when it came out on PSP/DS back in 2007 (or any of its variants that have featured on nearly every gaming system since then), I was actually really excited to play Puzzle Quest: The Legend Returns. I just so happened to see someone playing a similar match-3 title on their phone, and it made me want to see if this series was worth playing on the Switch.

The problem, of course, is implicit in that sentence: if the original Puzzle Quest came out just as mobile games were starting to become more popular — with match-3 games being among the more well-represented genres in that group — then Puzzle Quest: The Legend Returns comes at a time when the whole idea of match-3 games has been done to death.

That?s not to say it?s bad, by any means. As match-3 puzzle games go, Puzzle Quest: The Legend Returns has higher production values than most. The RPG overlay adds a bit of character to it, and you never feel as if the game views you as nothing more than a whale from whom it can extract lots and lots of money.

At the same time, though, the game definitely shows it comes from another era. Battles drag on and on forever even in the best of circumstances. You have to grind your way through every encounter, slowly gaining more coins and experience in order to up your stats. On top of that, the difficulty spikes early and often, requiring even more grinding. There?s no pay-to-win going on here, but the game is structured in a way that you can see exactly where it would be and why so many of these games incorporated such mechanics (terrible though they may be).

Consequently, the best way to view Puzzle Quest: The Legend Returns is as solid, but dated. It?s far less insidious than any of the myriad match-3 games that clog up Apple and Google?s respective storefronts, but it?s also not all that fun unless you really love grinding your way through match-3 puzzles. It could be a lot worse, and kudos to the game?s developers for resisting the allure of monetization, but Puzzle Quest: The Legend Returns? appeal will definitely be limited.

D3Go provided us with a Puzzle Quest: The Legend Returns Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-