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Thursday | August 16, 2018
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Puzzle Quest: Galactrix (X360)

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix (X360)


There is no shortage of Bejeweled style clones available for all the consoles but when Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords arrived in 2007 it took the casual puzzle genre and combined it with role playing elements. The end product was an addictive game which appealed to thousands of gamers across the globe. Finally the successor Galactrix has arrived which features an all new cast and is almost identical to the PC version which was released in February.

Galactrix is no longer set in a mythical fantasy world and instead the environment is one of … outer space. The mood is a little less tongue in cheek, however certain characters still offer plenty of laughs when they join your party. The story is this: the Earth is destroyed after a huge war and four mega corporations spring forth from the ashes in the attempt to save mankind from certain extinction. The remaining survivors travel into space to find a new way of life. Unfortunately what they don’t know is that hundreds of other races already have their homes in various sections of the galaxy. Galactrix begins hundreds of years after these critical events, when the human race has already established a stable presence among the alien races.

Instead of a few characters and a plethora of classes to choose from, Galactrix limits players to merely a selection of male or female, in the shape of a pilot. This is immediately disappointing as the original game offered a huge array of lifeforms and subsequent spells depending on the choices made. This meant players could approach the battles in various way. That said, you do still have dozens of items and weapons to pick from, to customise your ship.

The pace of the game is quick and once you select your gender you are placed into a few tutorials and end up with new crew members. Immediately you are chasing after a mystery genetic experiment which resulted in the death of an entire crew.

Fans of the original will immediately feel at home, because the structure of the game is very similar. Players travel around the galaxy accepting missions and sidequests and fight battles on a puzzlefield while gaining experience. The main differences however are the size of the universe (this one is massive!) and how you earn items and cash.

There are also some key changes to the core mechanic of the puzzle battles. You still match coloured gems in rows of at least three, but now the pieces are hexagonal. This changes the way they can be swapped because now there are six possible directions instead of four. Since Galactrix is set in zero gravity pieces can be replenished from any direction within the playing area. The direction you swap obviously determines which way new pieces will appear so if you swap upwards the board will shift up. Like before there are interactive elements which appear to attack your opponent. Unlike before, you also now have to match 5 items in order to gain an extra turn (it was 4).

The new puzzle game is great, it is more indepth and sophisticated than Bejeweled and your mind has to remain sharp and focused. It is also more difficult to predict how new gems will fall into the new places. Not only do you have to watch your hull damage but the addition of shielding also adds a new layer of strategy to the game play. There is a continual give and take between spending a move replenishing your shields as well as getting items to attack your opponent.

Instead of spells however you equip your ship with items to either slow down your opponent or give yourself a boost. Items are purchased with credits which are earned by completing specific quests and selling cargo to dealers afterwards. Cargo is received by mining planets and during these mining mini games you merely have to match as many gems as you can before no more matches are available which causes a black hole. It all sounds a bit pompous but the mechanics are sound and it plays well. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Galactrix however is that each galaxy you travel to has its own economy and your cargo will earn various amounts depending on where you try and sell it.

Your ship can only carry a certain amount of freight, so you need to be careful about where you do business and with who. Additionally mined cargo can be used to build items and even ships, if you find the right plans.

Obviously the most important thing in your arsenal is the ship. You can own up to three various ships at one time and take one into battle. There are a large variety of vessels in the game which offer the player various strategies. Some are faster than others which means you can escape enemy encounters and others have stronger defenses and shielding.


Another mini game which requires a lot of time is the hacking game. Leapgates are used to travel around the universe and each one of them needs to be hacked before you can get access to it. Here you have to match gems in a specific colour order within a certain time limit. There is also another mini game you play in order to learn rumours. They all basically revolve around the same mechanic in various ways to give slightly more diversity to the player.

Galactrix on Xbox Live Arcade runs a lot better on the Xbox than it does on the Nintendo DS. The load times are very fast and making the matches results in some graphically impressive effects. The only issue I am not sold on is the movement system as the ship follows your cursor around the screen rather than waiting for you to click somewhere to instruct the path. This will mean your ship wanders at times and it seems that the developers would have been better implementing a click system for more precision.

The audio side of the game is great and it sets the mood perfectly. It is serene, epic and yet almost mythical, which is almost the way I feel when I listen to the Star Wars music. Unfortunately there is no voice acting and all the scripting is handled via the text interface.

Multiplayer is available both locally and via Xbox live. If you have played the multiplayer game in the first Puzzle Quest game then it will all be immediately familiar and reassuring in design and implementation.

Developer Infinite Interactive have taken the good key mechanics from Puzzle Quest and have adapted them for a space environment, while expanding upon many of the fun aspects. Everything about Galactrix is bigger and more epic by nature which means that fans of the franchise will have a lot of fun adapting to the new style. The various mini games add variety to the puzzles and the characters are entertaining to watch. A great game which should not be missed by any Xbox gamer.


A hybrid puzzle title which gets new life from the RPG elements. Bigger scale.
The style is effective and it looks well. Obviously the limitations of the genre mean it won’t be taxing a 285 GTX SLI system.
Great epic feeling soundtrack
Single player game has many hours of gametime and the multiplayer is decent
One of the best store games available. Make sure to check it out.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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