I am a huge fan of the original Puzzle Quest, having played through it back in the day on a nintendo hand-held. That game was broken in some ways, but not in a bad way, more that if you were careful and managed things just right, you could eventually create an amazingly over-powered character that could 'lock down' the whole board and win by the first or second turn.
Sure that made multiplayer pretty unmanagable, but for the single player game it actually gave a certain level of domination satisfaction of 'here is my incredibly over-powered end game character let me just splatter the fields of puzzle-battle with the remains of anyone foolish enough to challenge me'.
I mention this because I guess having seen how over powered people could become in the first game, it seems like they made it a priority to 'fix' that in this second outing.
While the core gameplay survived intact, it seems like they have gone to great lengths to reduce the utility and natural meshing of the various skills and secondary mechanics to the point it honestly feels less like an RPG dressed in puzzle elements, and more like a basic match 3 game with some very light rpg traces sprinkled in.
The 'overworld' is now quite limiting and slow. While there are a number of options to go and do, they are often so removed and seperated that you will spend as much time wandering slowly from screen to screen as you will actually battling bad guys. Additionally it feels like a number of the areas you 'could' possibly go are more or less artificially blocked by bad guys way higher level than you to the point that in the end there really is only one fairly linear line of progression along the enemies that won't just smash you routinely.
Its not truly *bad* in that the core matching and fighting is ok, it just seems like here in the second outing, the overall rpg tone is honestly a net negative, not positive like it was the first time around.