Monday, June 29, 2020

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix

Here's a blast from 2009:

This was the follow-up to Puzzle Quest, which was almost universally loved, since it had a single player campaign and light RPG trappings. 

I was so pumped when Puzzle Quest: Galactrix was released. And, ultimately, disappointed. 

I wrote about this 11 years ago, but I'm not looking back to see what went wrong. What matters is that this game has been in the back of my mind for a long time. 

During the Steam Summer sale, it's $0.99. 

That was more than enough to get it off my wishlist and into the library. 

First off, an obligatory note that on my system, it runs fine in Win 10. There's an occasional, tiny bit of static with the soundtrack, but it's not onerous. 

Second, I remember that the game saved often, and it was interminably slow. With SSD's, though, and a much faster system, it's something I barely notice. 

Third, holy crap, the music is magnificent. I totally forget that there were a few Blade Runner-type compositions, and they sound entirely amazing. 

Okay, those are a few intro notes. Let's talk about gameplay. 

What makes Puzzle Quest: Galactrix notable (even today) is the pull mechanic for new tiles. It's a basic tile-matcher, where you swap a tile with another to create matches. The unique part is that whatever direction you move the tile, that's the direction the new tiles come from. 

That's mind-bending, and it makes the gameplay incredibly interesting (as well as challenging). It's certainly the most difficult match-three I've ever played, and it also has a high dose of randomness, so that even if you're using the correct strategy, you'll be replaying battles. 

That bothered me much more in 2009 than it does now. 

The number of different matching games are substantial. You mine, craft, hack leapgates, and battle. I believe that there are others I haven't seen yet. They're all fun and all slightly different. 

A note on starting out: it's helpful to limit how many missions you're taking on at one time. The galaxy is large (over 100 star systems, I believe), and when I accepted the max number of missions (four), I just had too much going on in too many different places. Starting off with only one or two missions is helpful as you get to understand the game mechanics and the galaxy. 

Random bit: 100+ ships, and customizable with a variety of different items.

The story is not great, and neither is the writing. You can skip both, though. and the gameplay is worth it. 

I don't know many games that age well, but this one did. 

Site Meter