I don't do a lot of gaming.  Once upon a time I did, but now that I'm married and have kids, my gaming time is pretty restricted.  Last week I was carpooling with a friend and he handed me his Nintendo DS and said "Try this."  It was running a new game called Puzzle Quest.  I played for the whole drive and promptly ordered it from Amazon.  You see, the game is popular enough that it's completely sold out locally.  Since it arrived I've been playing it nonstop.

Puzzle Quest is an interesting game.  It's a mix of an RPG with Bejeweled.  That sound strange, but it's actually quite addicting.  You have the interesting puzzle game play of a casual game mixed with the advancements of an RPG.  There is a story but it's just an excuse for your character to get into fights, earn experience, and level up. 

The game makes liberal use of the Bejeweled mechanic but subtley changes it from task you task.  When you are fighting a monster, making matches either gains you mana or inflicts damage on your enemy.  When trying to capture a creature, you have to clear the board.  When learning a new spell you need to match specified numbers of each color jewel before running out of matches.  To add to the mix, during a fight you have spells available to you.  Rather than making a move (swapping two jewels), you can cast a spell.  Spells may damage an opponent, heal you, or affect the board.  Carefully using combinations can be quite effective.  The more you play, the better your character becomes.  You learn new spells and thus the way to beat an opponent keeps changing.

So far the game is maintaining its charm.  The advancements and the new abilities keep me coming back for more.