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Puzzle Quest: Galactrix.

4.11.2009

I was very excited for the release of Puzzle Quest Galactrix, a spaceship themed puzzle game with role-playing elements for the Nintendo DS. Galactrix is the sequel to last year's underdog smash hit Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. This first Puzzle Quest, Warlords, was excellent - it was so infectious that I played it through twice. I've been playing Galaxtrix for a couple weeks now, and, alas, this version is not so good.

First off, Galactrix has an updated puzzle grid. Instead of Warlord's square Bejeweled-clone grid, Galactrix has a hexagonal grid where new gem's fall from any one of the six directions. I rather like the system - it's a bit more challenging than the old. But it is also less strategic, and much more random.

Secondly, Galactrix's mini-games just aren't as engrossing as with Warlords. The asteroid mining is pretty engrossing, and selling the mined materials reminds me of Dope Wars, as the prices vary at different locations. You can also craft items, but first you need to find a plan for the item, so I find it much more limiting than the more freeform mechanism available in Warlords. The rumor minigame isn't very interesting, and serves only to reveal backstory. I find the haggling mini-game to be rather tricky, and I usually just skip it since I have a ton of money.

Third, I've already maxxed out my character's level (50, for those of you who are counting). And just like in the previous version, I feel a little stuck with the level-up decisions I've made. I keep wishing for more Red Energy - there's nothing like direct damage for blowing up another ship.

Finally, there's a ton of loading between screens in Galactrix. It's really irritating. Every time I go from one screen to another, even into my inventory, I have to wait a few seconds while the game loads and saves my data. The loading quite tedious, and I'm quite sure that it could have been "fixed" somehow. There can't possibly be such an impossible amount of data to load that all that delay is necessary.

Galactrix is pretty good, but it's not great. Really, I would have been happy with Puzzle Quest II if it just had more of the same as Warlords. Ah well. It still helps to pass the time on the bus.

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Tags: gaming reviews

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