The Puzzle Quest series was one of the first titles to mix the match 3 and RPG genres successfully, and Puzzle Quest 1 and 2 are still solid entries into the sub-genre years after their original release (though ‘Puzzle Quest 2’ is notable by its absence in digital stores these days). With the main-line titles spinning off into licensed properties such as ‘Magic: The Gathering Puzzle Quest’ and ‘Marvel Puzzle Quest’, it’s been left to Gems or War to carry the banner for original content in this respected series.
Fusions of Match-3 mechanics and RPGs have been a prevalent sub-genre since ‘Puzzle Quest’ first thought to do it, and the mobile market has been swarmed with a multitude of similar games. Some, such as ‘Spellfall’ play it straight but do so with a degree of polish that makes them stand out, whilst titles such as ‘Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes’ have developed their own very unique takes on the formula. Hero Emblems is similar to what the ‘Dragon Quest’ franchise might have produced.
It’s hard to take the rules of a card game as successful as Magic: The Gathering and turn it into a thrilling experience outside of its original medium. Direct versions for mobile exist that follow the games design to the letter of the law and manage to be dry, lifeless and overly-complex experiences. Compared to games such as ‘Elements’, which does much the same but allows for the benefits of its medium, there’s not been a really great Magic game.