Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords was an innovative game using elements of RPGs to make a puzzle game similar to the online favourite, Bejeweled, a more in-depth experience. The game was a sleeper hit in 2007 and thus the team over at Infinite Interactive have developed a sequel – Puzzle Quest Galactrix.
For those unfamiliar with the original 2007 title, the main part of the game involved a puzzle board not dissimilar to games such as the aforementioned, casual online game Bejeweled or Columns (for those of you old enough to have owned a Sega GameGear). The aim was to match gems of the same colour in groups of three or more. Combinations of coloured gems would enable the gamer to use certain power-ups to help in battle, whilst matching attack gems would cause damage to the enemy.
Upon winning a battle (thereby completing a quest), the player would gain experience and could use the experience points they had earned to improve their character's attributes. This RPG aspect, along with the background story set in the Warlords fantasy world of Etheria, certainly made Challenge of the Warlords an enjoyable experience.
There are a couple of discernible differences between the original and Galactrix. Firstly, the setting has moved from the medieval fantasy setting to one in outer space, as indicated by the title. The game is set some time in the far off future. A bleak future for Man it seems, unless you, as a budding MRI pilot can bring some sort of order back to the galaxy.
The other main difference that players will notice is the puzzle game board, which has gone from being the traditional square board to a hexagonal board. The new board shape brings with it a number of positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, the hexagonal board means that gamers who played the original will be required to formulate new strategies to win battles. On matching gems, new pieces will fall into place from the direction (being hexagonal, there are six directions) the last piece was moved. Unfortunately this can also result in one of the biggest frustrations in the game.
During a battle, you may be in a strong position and may be well on your way to winning, when all of a sudden your opponent may get a lucky drop resulting in chain reaction combos including multipliers with attack gems. This bad move could then either end your battle or leave you with little hope of recovering. It can definitely be quite irritating to come so close to winning but eventually lose to random bad luck. Of course, there are times when the gamer will also receive these lucky falls, so I guess it goes both ways.
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