PuzzleQuest: Galactrix  - Review

PuzzleQuest: Galactrix
Ages: Everyone +10

Galactrix, like its fantasy-themed predecessor, brings the series’ unique blend of simplistic gameplay and deeper role-playing elements into the realm of science-fiction. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a welcome change of setting; the Galactrix universe is populated with a handful of diverse factions, and supported with detailed character art and immersive music throughout.

For those unfamiliar with Puzzle Quest, what the team at D3 has done is to take a deep RPG adventure—complete with side quests, character leveling, and a sprawling story—and substituted for the combat mechanic a Bejeweled-style casual gem matching game. The result is a game with the addictive simplicity and easily accessible qualities of a gem-matcher that offers bits of story and additional powers (in Challenge of the Warlords, they were spells; Galactrix’sanalog comes in the form of ship upgrades and advanced weaponry) as a tangible alternative to a high-score table.

From the game’s outset the player is given a choice between a Male or Female protagonist — I started a game with each, and the only noticeable difference is the character portrait. In addition, the character classes seen in the previous game are absent. Frankly, I would have liked to have seen a diplomat or merchant class; the solution presented to most every problem is a battle to the death, but I see no reason why the puzzle gameplay could not be adapted to support diplomacy. The story is pretty basic fare, but not obnoxiously so, and the variety of side-quests and branching paths means there’s a lot of game to experience here. In addition to fighting, the puzzle mechanic carries the weight in mining for resources, item creation, haggling for trade bonuses, and computer hacking, but the rules and object of the game are different for each, which provides a welcome bit of variety.

The new gem-matching game feels more random and further out of the player’s control than that of the first game, and I felt like most battles were decided before they began, based more on the statistics of my ship and of my enemy’s than on how I played the game. That said, I really like this game, and owing to the variety of game variants, the wealth of side quests and optional storylines, and the immersive atmosphere created by the brooding spacey music and crisp presentation, it’s grabbed my attention in a way that PQ: Challenge of the Warlords never did.

Fun Factor: The addictiveness of gem-matching meets the depth of an RPG… in space!
Female Factor: The protagonist Balrika is a blank slate, but engineer Kirine and mechanic Lydia are quirky and nuanced.
Player Friendly: The intricacies of the puzzle game can seem a bit out of reach. Also, this game is bafflingly big and can feel like a jump in the deep end, but ultimately a rewarding one.

Reviewed by: Alex Lewis - 05/09

  • PuzzleQuest: Galactrix
  • © D3 Publisher
  • Platform(s): GBDSDS
  • To Order: DS http://www.amazon.com/ $27.99