500 years have passed and yet another cycle of the light vanquishing the darkness is coming to. Etheria, a land of magic, beasts, and adventure, is once again wrought with the mysterious return of dragons, sieges from the Tribe of Kor are commonplace, and overall unrest has once again spread across the land.
Your stumbling upon a mysterious woman named Eveline in the middle of the woods is just the first of many mysteries that are about to unfold before your very eyes. This is Puzzle Quest 3.
The publisher behind games such as Terraria Mobile, Portal Knights, Gems of War, and Human Fall Flat, and critically acclaimed titles like Death Stranding, and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, 505 Games has just released yet another behemoth of a title to its library of games: Puzzle Quest 3.
Set in the same lands of Etheria, Puzzle Quest 3 opens up its doors to new players and old players alike. The game isn’t just a match-3 game, it also doubles as an RPG where classes all behave differently thanks to their set of skills.
As it is a match-3 game, any new player experiencing its gameplay will notice that it’s also a somewhat more complex title compared to simpler ones like Match Land, Puzzles & Survival, and Empires and Puzzles. Puzzle Quest 3 is rife with challenges that will require skill, patience, and timing and this is one of the reasons why we’ve chosen to write this guide. Due to this, it can be quite intimidating and unforgiving at times. But with enough strategy, you should be able to get through the game just fine.
Are you new to Etheria? Would you like to delve deep into the perilous journey ahead? Will you uncover the mastermind behind all this chaos? Read our detailed Puzzle Quest beginner’s guide below and we will show you the way!
First off, let’s talk about how the game plays.
1. There are a total of 6 gems on the board:
- Red Gem – Fire Damage
- Blue Gem – Ice Damage
- Poison Gem – Poison Damage
- Light Gem – Light Damage
- Darkness Gem – Darkness Damage
- Skull Gem – Physical Damage
You will have to match 3 or more of any gem to activate the timer. The timer only lasts 3 seconds and once it’s up, you end your turn. Each successful match boosts the timer up a little and it will automatically stop if you’ve run out of matches. Depending on what you match on the board, it may be beneficial to you, your enemy, or both of you. Each gem matched will power up a skill of specified color.
2. Both you and your enemy have three bars on the lower portion of the screen (left for you, right for the enemy):
- Red Bar – Health. If this reaches 0 the combatant is defeated.
- Blue Bar – Armor. This bar protects the combatant from physical attacks.
- Yellow Bar – Resistance. This bar protects the combatant from elemental attacks.
In a fight, matching anything without the Skull Gems will cause your character to deal elemental damage. This will lower the enemy’s Resistance. Lining up some Skull Gems alone will damage the enemy’s Armor. If you manage to line up a combination of both, you’ll be able to deal damage to both the enemy’s Resistance and Armor. Likewise, the enemy can deal the same types of damage to you.
- Using a Spell does not end your turn. You may use multiple spells at once, provided they are charged and ready.
- Typically, a fight consists of 2 to 3 enemies whereas Dungeons are longer and more challenging. After vanquishing all foes in battle, you win.
Now that that’s done, let’s talk about how you can properly kick evil butt!
1. Take Your Time
As far as puzzles go, the best part about them is that you shouldn’t rush.
Rushing in any puzzle will leave you flustered, confused, and very unfulfilled, especially if it doesn’t get solved. If you’ve ever played puzzle games like Professor Layton, you’d most likely understand. Puzzle Quest 3 is absolutely not like the aforementioned game, but regardless, it’s still important to pay attention to a lot of the details happening in-game.
For instance, there are several tooltips you can see if you hold your finger down on almost any item on screen (we’ll especially tackle this when it comes to observing your enemies). If you aren’t so sure about your moves, think through it first. The best tactics always come from those who wait.
Aside from taking your time with battle, keep in mind that Puzzle Quest 3 is a slow game. It’s intended to provoke thought while you play it. Not thinking your moves through could easily end your run, especially if you’re up against some strong enemies. Gauge what you have on your board first, understand your enemy’s capabilities, and then make your move. Getting through a battle will be much easier without haste.
One way you can figure your moves out more easily is if you visualize what you’ll do next.
2. Visualize Your Match Strategy
Having plans anywhere is great. While some people prefer being spontaneous, plans help keep our lives nicely organized. The same goes for what happens in a video game!
Planning out your match strategy in Puzzle Quest 3 is easy if you know how to move the pieces. Similar to games like Match Land where diagonal matching is allowed, this does make things more interesting. First give your board a good, hard look. You will prioritize what can be moved and where. Be sure not to move them immediately, but instead, try doing the matching motion with your finger before actually doing it.
Imagine arrows pointing to where you want the gems to go. These imaginary arrows will help you memorize the pattern before you make your move. But also keep in mind the standard rule of match-3 games. If you move a piece, it swaps places with the piece it moved with. Take this into account as well while you visualize your plan. When you start matching gems, you may notice that some gems will have numbers on them.
This will be in our spotlight in the next item.
3. Clear Your Board As Much As You Can
Do you keep saving your gems for a combination you want? Do you have more than enough gems on your board that are of a single color? Don’t let them pile up too much. Your lack of variety could kill you.
Each enemy has a specific weakness. Hoarding too many gems of the same color may inadvertently power up their skills, especially if they share the same elemental affinity as the gems you have hoarded. On the contrary, if you have their weakness, trying to match them all will help you clear your board faster and get you even more gems.
The key here is trying to get a good selection of gems because it’s tough being at a dearth of gems when you need them, especially skull gems. In fact, matching a large number of gems, whether you strengthen the enemy or not, is beneficial.
Matching more than 3 gems at a time will give you what is called a “big gem” which has a size indicated by a Roman numeral (the biggest being 10 or X). Big gems are singular gems that possess the strength of the same number of gems it is indicated with plus 3.
For example, a fire gem with I on it has the strength of 4 fire gems. Matching said gem with two other gems will make it look like you matched 6 gems in one go. Take advantage of this if you wish to fill your spells fast. We will discuss spells in-depth soon.
Some special gems, like the Berserker’s rage gems can help clear the board as well. These gems that are exclusive to the Berserker are fire gems that have the faces of demons. Using this as an example, the rage gems can be matched with fire gems. Upon being successfully matched, the rage gems explode in a 3×3 radius.
Any gems caught in the blasts will count as matched gems and will power up the Berserker’s next attack. If used with certain Berserker skills, spawning even more rage gems is a possibility. Just imagine these exploding all over your board!
In the end, clearing your board ties into understanding how your class plays. But clearing your board of gems isn’t the only way to win; understanding your opponent is also quite important.
4. Study Your Enemies
Does the Troll keep using Troll Blood? Have you been hit by an Orc’s Blood Lust? Has a Wolf been performing Pack Tactics until you died? These are little things you might have overlooked.
Just like in any RPG, Puzzle Quest 3’s monsters behave differently, each of them with their own sets of techniques and attack styles. They also come with their own set of weaknesses. This is what you need to figure out when defeating them. After all, every monster in Puzzle Quest 3, is essentially a puzzle. All of them have different solutions and all of them are solvable.
On the right side of the screen, you will notice little icons above the monster and below it. The icons below are just above the monster’s HP, armor, and resistance bars. The icons above the monster are the monsters in the battle. You may tap on any one of them and see which gems hurt them with strong elemental damage, which gems don’t do much to them, and which gems give them mana.
The icons below are the current monster’s skills. The bigger icon is an active skill which they perform when their mana is full and the smaller icon is their passive skill; a condition that allows them to perform a skill that may happen as frequently as every turn. You will have to study these carefully if you want to finish the round with minimal damage.
Let’s take the Winter Wolf for instance. The Wolf has the spell Frost Bite and a passive ability called Pack Tactics. Once it has charged its blue mana, it will perform Frost Bite but it’s its Pack Tactics that make it all the more dangerous. Its Pack Tactics ability activates when you have more than 4 skull gems on the board and will continuously damage your character until you match them. Keeping your skull gems matched all the time as well as piling on elemental damage is key when defeating the Winter Wolf.
Additionally, there is also the Pegasus. The Pegasus is a mighty foe bearing superb defense. It also has its passive ability called Shield of Light which protects it from any spell you use on it as long as its Resistance is above 0. Whittling its Resistance down using elemental spells should open it up for more damage options.
Until then, you might need to use normal attacks without using any of your spells. The fight may be tedious, but it has to be done quickly if you want to get through the fight with small amounts of damage.
With spells usually being a huge factor in any battle, it’s important that you first know how they work.
5. Experiment With Different Spell Loadouts
In a world full of monsters, warriors, and dragons, magic is bound to exist one way or another (with some exceptions). Sorcerors are commonly known as the ones to wield powerful magic spells but in Puzzle Quest 3, each class has its own brand of magic.
Every class draws its power from at least two gems: the Assassin has the purple and green gems, the Paladin has the yellow and red gems, the Shaman has the green and yellow gems, the Necromancer has the blue and purple gems, and the Berserker has the red and blue gems. As discussed earlier, matching gems of certain colors will power up the spells of those colors (i.e. Red gems power up red spells, blue gems power up blue spells, etc.). This is why having a spell loadout of your choosing is important.
You can go about this in two ways:
- Equip Spells of Your Class Colors
- Equip Spells of Multiple Colors
First, let’s talk about equipping spells of your class’ colors. Having spells that each share these colors has its advantages. The biggest one here is that you already know which gems to match to power them up. As we discussed earlier, each class derives its power from a specific color of gem. This is very important for spells that come with your class. For instance, the Assassin comes with a purple and green spell. Additionally, these color-coded spells usually work extremely well with the class that excels in using them.
If using just two colors of gems to fuel your spells isn’t working out for you, try having a set of spells with various colors. Using this will help you fill their mana requirements rather quickly since you won’t ever run out of gems of a specific color. This method can prove beneficial for any player since you could have a spell for every situation. One of the biggest downsides to it is that your set will lack focus, some of the spells being better in the hands of a different class.
Matching gems, matching spells with classes, what next? Matching equipment? Absolutely!
6. Wear Matching Equipment
In most RPGs, equipment plays a big deal. It helps the player survive battles and better equipment brings them to greater heights.
Here, equipment not only affects the strength of your character’s powers, but they also indicate their condition and overall performance. The sum of the overall quality of your gear rating is represented by a number and this number is called Gear Score.
Gear Score denotes the readiness of your character when compared to the Enemy Score, a number that denotes the difficulty of the quest. The higher the Enemy Score, the more powerful the monsters might be. You might be strong enough to fight enemies with Enemy Scores at least 15-30 points higher than your Gear Score as all it takes is critical thinking and timing, but for those who want to make sure that they want to get the best out of their equipment, there is the strategy of matching equipment pieces together.
The names of equipment aren’t just for show. Just because something is called Guard’s Gloves doesn’t just mean it may have belonged to a guard corp somewhere in Etheria. The name of a piece of equipment means that it belongs to a set. Let’s suppose you have two pieces of Firewalker equipment. Wearing them at the same time grants you a set bonus that gives you a small chance that a red gem is created at the start of your turn. For the Berserker class, this set is quite useful.
This doesn’t mean to say that other pieces won’t be left out in granting bonuses. If you have multiple pairs of equipment, they can all grant you at least the 2-set bonus. Having more pieces will certainly give your character more powerful bonuses, so keep unlocking treasure chests!
Although equipment may stand on its own, they won’t be so powerful if you don’t upgrade them. Resources can be scarce, but there is a way you can get more materials for upgrading.
7. Salvage Unneeded Equipment Pieces
As it is in many RPGs, quests are filled with problems to solve, experience to gain, and loot to pick up. The third item in that enumeration is the most important focus.
Loot makes a lot of us players feel rich and powerful. Naturally, more loot means more stuff to wear, more weapons to wield, more potions to drink, etc. In this game, loot commonly presents itself in the form of upgrade shards, gold, food, equipment, and many others. Surely, these will all be put to good use eventually, but what of the equipment? What do we do with these when we don’t need them? We salvage them, that’s what!
What you have to do is first open your gear page and choose any equipment piece. If you see any items you don’t need, tap any of these items and hit the Salvage Button on the lower left portion of the screen. If you want to take these out in bulk, you can Mass Salvage by tapping its icon on the upper right which looks like a hammer breaking a box. You will be able to select multiple items at once and salvage them all. Be warned that salvaging is irreversible, so take care in picking the equipment you want to get rid of!
After salvaging these equipment pieces, you will be awarded upgrade shards which you use to upgrade your equipment. Upgrading is important and increases your Gear Score, so try to upgrade often so you don’t get left in the dust. Make these checks right before you’ll face a tough quest and it may keep your character from dying.
Not getting enough loot? Do you keep dying in the campaign? Worry not, we’ve got you covered!
8. Try Doing Sidequests
The dragon claimed more villages! There is smoke on the horizon! But wait, Eveline and Toragon have quests for you! Northhelm wandered off because he was looking for Brie! Looks like they need a hero: you.
Side Quests are a break from the main campaign. While they probably don’t reward as much, they are numerous and provide the same amount of challenge or even greater. The best part about this is that you also learn a bit of lore along the way — you get to learn what makes your character’s friends tick.
To go on a Side Quest, simply tap Tavern on the lower bar of the main menu. If your friends have blue exclamation points next to their portrait, they have Side Quests available for you. Keep in mind that sometimes these Side Quests have higher Enemy Scores than the campaign. If they do and you couldn’t complete them, finish a few campaign missions, upgrade your gear, and then come back. They can be very short but very rewarding. Give them a try.
Side Quests still too tough for you? Can’t get past the campaign? There’s more!
9. Visit Dungeons Or Play Skirmishes For Extra Loot
Let’s talk about almost every RPG player’s aspect in their quests for loot and glory: Dungeons!
Dungeons are usually an imposing presence in any RPG. They contain tough enemies, minibosses, bosses, and most of the time, excellent loot. If you want the rarest of the rare and you aren’t afraid of getting your butt handed to you on a silver platter, then head on down to your not-so-friendly neighborhood Dungeon closest to you. If you aren’t sure how to do that, here’s how!
At the main menu, tap the World button, and there you should see the Dungeon option on the right. Be warned that Dungeons usually have high Enemy Scores and will be longer and more challenging than your typical adventure. There will be at least 5 enemies present but you will also have the chance to gain a random buff along the way after defeating every two monsters. If the Dungeons are too tough for you, there is always the option to try Skirmishes.
Skirmishes are short battles that don’t reward as much but are great for practice. To clarify, the quality of the loot rewarded here isn’t as great, but they give items that are good for salvaging. If you wanna look into upgrading your gear more, give the Skirmish mode a try. Accessing the Skirmish mode is just like accessing the Dungeon mode — the buttons are right next to each other!
Still trying to find more loot? Wanna practice your skill even further? How about making another character?
10. Make Other Characters For Even More Loot (And Practice!)
As it is with many online games these days, you are usually allowed more than one character.
Making a new character allows for the following:
- A fresh start
- The chance to experience an entirely different playstyle
- A speedier jump from the beginning
What Puzzle Quest 3 has to offer aside from all this is even more loot. Making a new character isn’t just for you to practice new strategies and get used to a different playstyle for a refreshing experience, you will also get the chance to farm for more loot by breezing through the campaign with the gear you’ve earned with your other characters.
At most, you might even breeze through the levels with what you know now. Consider it like starting anew — you’ll know what to do now, you know what things to save, what to use in your times of need, you’ll even know how to beat some bosses more easily.
While Puzzle Quest 3 presents itself with many challenges ahead of the player, you can get through these by remembering what was discussed in this guide:
- Visualize your match strategy before you make any moves.
- Clear your board as much as possible.
- Study your enemies — watch out for their spells, their passive abilities, and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
- Experiment with different spell loadouts. Choose a loadout that works for you.
- Trying to up your gear score? How about wearing matching gear sets to level the playing field?
- If you’re out of upgrading shards, salvage unneeded equipment.
- Go on Side Quests, Dungeons, and Skirmishes if you need more loot.
- Want a fresh start with even more loot? Try making a new character.
Learn with every step of the way, brave adventurer — Etheria is in danger and it needs a hero: you!
Do you have other tips you’d like to add for would-be heroes of Puzzle Quest 3? Was there anything we missed in this guide? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!