Puzzle Chronicles is a nice switch on the classic puzzle fighter genre that got popular with Puzzle Quest and games like it. I'll state upfront that videogame titles haven't got better with times since you can notice how similar both of them are. Usually, puzzle fighters are turn-based grid fighting games where you match gems and skulls and wildcards, often you get experience and gold to find yourself equipped with skills and items that affect the flow of the game in some way, fighting against an array of enemies also empowered with special abilities. Sometimes, mini-games will allow you to do different things to increase your choices.
The core experience of Puzzle Chronicles is subpar
The main battle system is a mess. Basically, you need to match skulls with star gems so they break and that gives you rage, which in turns attack your enemy and that gives you more of the board to play with. You also match wildcards to any colors of gems and match regular gems with multipliers to gain energy to use skills. If you have items equipped and match a square of the item's color, you'll activate its power. Gems fall from left to right and you can rotate them and make them fall faster if you want.
That being said, it's never clear what the goal of the battle system is. While you're winning if the board is mostly yours and losing if the enemy is pushing the line your way, how exactly you can be victorious is vague at best. Consider the following picture.
In the upper half of that screenshot, I won the fight at that moment (you can see the gold and experience gems start to fill up, an interesting system to say the least, when you finish a fight you gain gold in proportion to the surface of the board that is empty and experience in proportion with the filled part) and there is still a good quarter of the board available to my opponent. In the lower half of my picture, I was still fighting (you can see my red gem effect activating) even tho there's only one column left for my enemy.
The problem is obvious, do you win based on your position on the board? Does the character and enemies have hidden HP totals that go down whenever you get attacked or attack? Another glaring flaw is how quickly and weirdly a battle can go and it's often unsure on how you can turn the tide.
How I would fix this
Surface more information, that's obvious, if you need to deal some number of damage to win, show that number (and show the damage you're dealing), if the line needs to be at some specific threshold for you to be victorious, show that threshold. If the enemies do special abilities, add markers and icons on the screen so you know when they're active and when they're gone. Also show some text explaining what the abilities do! "Poison: Deals damage" is pretty useless because as far as I know, there is no life total in this game, only a bar that moves back and forth.
The map is stylish but useless
Moving around in Puzzle Chronicles is a bit slow for reasons not useful to gameplay. You move your cursor on a 2d map and then watch your character walk very slowly to your destination. Some specific things such as training your pet or shopping are located on certain areas of the map that you need to walk all the way back to. This drags a bit and cuts between the fights and especially because some minigames are in specific areas of the world map, this makes going back to train or shop not perticulary interesting.
How I would fix this
Either you map all the important things (pet training, shop, mini dungeons and other mini-games) to some menu item, or you make movement faster (or instantaneous), that would help the flow of the game.
There's enough variety in the game's systems to keep interest
Otherwise, Puzzle Chronicles is fine, there's enough to do that will keep me from playing it to completion, you get stats, gear and puzzles that allow you to train your pet or discsover new items. It seems like there's a fair choice of equipment too, even tho I'm focusing on certain aspects of the fighting system such as generating rage and the like, because I often win that way.