Puzzle Quest was a sensation at its launch; a match-three tile game coupled with RPG elements was something fresh. Cut to September 2013, and developer Demiurge released Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign. The same match-three gameplay had been upgraded and stylized to convey the Marvel universe, specifically the Dark Reign story arc.
So why should you be playing this? Well, let’s start with the obvious — the Marvel universe is fantastic, and it lends the game to comic book fans’ appeal. Also, it’s free; you can grab it on PC via Steam, iOS, and Android. New events and characters are constantly added, with over 30 Marvel Heroes currently available for play. The Demiurge representative couldn’t even tell me how many story events the game had reached, and that’s a promise of much content.
Mechanics have evolved from the match-three-to-attack style, too. Break gems of a certain color, and that color energy is stored for devastating attacks unique to each character — a thunderous strike from Thor actually saved me at the last moment during my game time. In addition, games are not set apart by color alone: the gem designs change based on the characters in your party, and the way they clear out determines who attacks and when they do it.
The biggest change to Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign, however, is in those heroes themselves. Rather than creating a class-based avatar, you choose a team of three Marvel staples, Marvel vs. Capcom style. And Demiurge went deep with their character selection; expect it to go even deeper as they continue to add heroes.
So why should you play this? It’s free, it gets updated, and it’s an evolution of the Puzzle Quest formula. And you missed the September release, fool! Boom.