Puzzle Quest: Galactrix Preview

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Publisher: D3Publisher of America
Developer: Infinite Interactive
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, DS

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords is a remarkable game. As developer Infinite Interactive said in a talk at the Game Developers Conference, it was difficult to find a publisher for Puzzle Quest's clever cross between a traditional "match-three" casual puzzle game and the extensive quest structure and character development of a role-playing game. Fortunately, D3Publisher of America stepped up, and we got to enjoy an incredible game. Now, Infinite Interactive is hard at work on another game in the Puzzle Quest universe: Puzzle Quest: Galactrix.

Projected Release: Fall 2008
Kyle Ackerman

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix isn't a sequel. It shares the basic premise of Challenge of the Warlords, in that a rich adventure brackets mini-games and combat that play out through a puzzle-related challenges, but Galactrix enjoys a science-fiction setting in which humanity is nearly extinct.

Galactrix is set in a distant future in which the experiments of a foul corporation have driven humanity to near extinction, and may have cost humans their very souls. Infinite Interactive was only showing the battle system between ships, but did mention that Galactrix will include a diplomacy system that will influence the player's standing with various factions in the Galactrix universe. There will also be a trading system that will allow players to deal in commodities.

As in Challenge of the Warlords, when you do have to fight, you do it through a match-three puzzle game. When battle-ready ships meet in Galactrix, they do so over a hexagonal field filled with colorful pieces. Different ships have different special functions, strengths and weaknesses. It's even possible to find the blueprints for new ships and purchase those vessels. But it all comes down to matching pieces.

Current combat is still in a preliminary stage, but as things stand, there are six colors of tile and damage tokens that do 1, 3, 5 or 10 points of damage to the opposing ship when eliminated in sets of three or more. Red, yellow and green tiles correspond to the ships' weapons, engine and CPU systems, respectively. Different ships will have their own strengths, and will use those red, yellow and green tiles to activate special abilities.

When damage is inflicted on a ship, that damage is first applied to that ship's shield. Once the shields are depleted, damage is applied to the ship's hull. By eliminating blue pieces, players can re-energize their shields. There are also white tiles that provide intel to help the player character grow – a sort of experience – and purple tiles related to "psi" that will enhance a character's abilities outside of battle.

To make battle particularly interesting, play will change depending on whether the battle takes place within the gravity well of a planet or star. When combat takes place under gravity, pieces fall in from the top when other pieces are eliminated. In space, when there's no gravity, pieces come in from the direction in which you moved a token. So, by determining which token you touch first when swapping pieces, you can control how pieces come into the board. That should make the strategy of setting up combinations considerably more interesting. Without gravity, you'll have more control over how battle plays out. And so will your foes.

While much remains to be learned concerning the game's framework outside of battle, the premise sounds fascinating, and ship-to-ship combat looks great. I'm incredibly excited for Galactrix to be released.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on February 29, 2008 11:22 AM.

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