Puzzle Quest: Galactrix Review
Galactrix extends the puzzle-based play beyond combat. Planetary systems are linked by stargates and before a stargate is used for the first time it must be 'hacked'. The hacking procedure is played using the same puzzle as used in battles, but in this case there's no opponent to compete against. Instead you are given a sequence of colored gems and you must make a match on the puzzle board with gems of the same color. Make the match and you're given the next color to match, and if you make it to the end of the sequence before the timer expires, then you will unlock the stargate. The time constraint coupled with the fact that is can take some work to manipulate the puzzle board to set up a match of the required gem color make the hacking game a bit more difficult than the game's battles – especially since it seems that the game's AI has been dumbed-down slightly in comparison to that in the original game. Another puzzle-based activity in the game is asteroid mining. Asteroids can be mined for resources that can later be sold at a starbase for cash. The mining game replaces the gems with a lot of gray rock and a few resources gems. If you make a match of resources, they are added to your cargo hold. You can continue mining an asteroid until there are no moves left on the puzzle board of the asteroid is tapped out of resources. The mining game is rather low-key compared to the others and feels more like a mini game than a full puzzle, but it's a fun little diversion none the less and a nice addition to the game.
The galaxy in Galactrix consists of a large number of star systems interconnected by a network of stargates. You can travel as far as you'd like on the galactic map as long as you've hacked the stargate for each link you've traversed. When you reach a system with a locked gate, you'll need to enter it and hack the gate before you can move beyond that system. The galaxy is large but navigation is simple. Just click on the system that you'd like to travel to and your ship will hop from system to system automatically as long as there are a string of open stargates between you and your destination. As a very helpful aid to navigation, the game marks systems in which new missions are available and those you need to visit to complete your current mission.
Each system has about a half dozen locations that you can visit to mine, receive and complete missions, sell cargo, and upgrade your ship. Each system belongs to a faction and if you're not friendly to a faction as a result of the missions that you've completed you may find yourself under attack as soon as you show your face. There are also a few ships wandering around each system and you can attack them to gain money, cargo, and experience, but you do so at the risk of damaging your reputation with the owning faction.
If you enjoyed Puzzle Quest, then you'll find a lot to like about Galactrix. It's Puzzle Quest on a galactic scale and provides a tremendous amount of gameplay for an Xbox Live Arcade game, and when you're finished with it you still have the option of playing the puzzle online against other gamers. Unless you have a strong dislike of puzzle games like Bejeweled, you'll probably have a great time with Galactrix.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 88%. More than just Puzzle Quest in space...