E3 2008: Puzzle Quest: Galactrix Hands-On

We look our addiction straight in the eye and play a bit of the new Puzzle Quest. We can quit anytime we want. We promise.

Bad news for those of you recovering from the horrors of Puzzle Quest addiction: You're about to have a relapse. D3 was showing off the latest version of the upcoming Puzzle Quest: Galactrix at E3 2008, and we were able to get our grubby little hands on the puzzle-adventure game that will no doubt be the cause of many sleepless nights.

The playfield looks a bit different, but the basic concept is still the same.

Like the original Puzzle Quest, Galactrix will have a story mode. However, the developer isn't ready to spill the beans on it just yet. We do know that the game takes place some 20,000 years in the future, a time when outer space is no longer the great unknown and different alien species are a common sight (and by the looks of it, a problem). The game that we played in Quick Battle mode was against one such alien.

Gameplay feels both familiar and new. The square playfield is now circular, but it's still filled with multicolored (now hexagonal) pieces that you move together to form like-colored rows of three or more. Rather than new tiles coming up from the top to replace cleared tiles, they now come from all sides of the playfield. The direction is determined by how you move your tile when forming a row. If you move it from left to right, the new pieces come from the left. If you move diagonally from the upper right to the lower left, they'll come from the upper right. You're not likely to be concerned with this nuance at first, but once you become more accustomed to how tiles move, you'll realize that you're now able to chain up to seven tiles together, which will give you a huge advantage over your opponent.

The basic goal is the same: Be the last one standing. You can deplete foes' health by putting together rows of mines, or by attacking with one of your ship's special abilities, which are powered by the tiles that you've cleared. You'll be able to skip the other player's turn, deal massive damage, or inflict recurring harm to them. Rather than attack, defense-minded players might choose to shield their ship or simply horde cleared tiles for an emergency.

Regardless of the level of your aggression, the special moves that are available to you are determined by how many slots your ship has available. Smaller ships might have just three spaces, whereas larger craft will have five or more. Why wouldn't you just use the spaceship with the most open slots? There are several reasons. For one thing, you need money, and money is earned by transporting goods from one planet to another. A ship might have a lot of available special slots, but might not be able to carry much cargo. Each ship is rated in categories such as weapons, speed, and shields, so you'll have to decide what aspect is most compatible with your play style. If your battles tend to drag on and you take a lot of damage, a ship that has a strong shield rating might be a good idea. It's also possible that you may not have the plans for a larger ride, at which point you'd have to make do with you have.

How you customize your ship's abilities is totally up to you.

Our time with Galactrix was all too brief and left us with a lot of questions. How many different kinds of pilots will there be, and what effect will they have on gameplay? How will diplomacy be handled? How many ships are there in the game? And finally, where's the PSP version? The game is currently listed for release only on the Nintendo DS, Xbox Live Arcade, and PC.

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34 comments
snQQpy1
snQQpy1

Great question! Where is the PSP version? No surprise there isnt one!

Logic_Wins
Logic_Wins

Oh god not again.... I played the puzzle quest demo and ended up buying the game the second it ended.

Jackyll87
Jackyll87

I am still not able to put down puzzle quest for hours once i start it. Damn you D3 !!!

glennwinton
glennwinton

i want my damn psp version!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

gmax
gmax

Hmm... Sort of looks like Chinese checkers... But maybe that's not quite it...

Payback7
Payback7

WOOT!! Puzzle Quest rocked! Can't wait to get my hands on this little number :P

ognen
ognen

Yeah it will rock

ryo_strife24
ryo_strife24

NOOOO! I just got out of rehab from the 1st Puzzle Quest. Can't wait :D

Cube_of_MooN
Cube_of_MooN

Hmmm... nah, I'll pass. I didn't like the original much.

Caer_Death
Caer_Death

Another endlessly awesome addition to my DS collection. I think my mom would even love the PQ games, seeing as how she likes Bejeweled. Too bad for the PSP people, though. They might end up releasing it for every platform possible like they did with the first one eventually, though.

smadiso1
smadiso1

Can't wait to see the live feed for this one! Hopefully we'll get some more info on the ship customization options and a little story background. :D

ToddHagen
ToddHagen

Very, very much looking forward to it. It is the genre fusing depth of play that made the original PQ so much fun! This will be a welcome addition, and I do hope they do a PSP version! The PQ folks also are to deliver an expansion for PQ on the 360 - I hope soon!

shadowdemon0085
shadowdemon0085

I can hardly wait! Loved The First Puzzle Quest! I want this NOW!!

rizalariff
rizalariff

I hope a psp version will be released..

spidey223
spidey223

kid_ranqe -- then why are you even commenting on this game? puzzle quest was videogame crack, and haunts me to this day.

kid_ranqe
kid_ranqe

Im not really into puzzle games :(

playstation_wii
playstation_wii

Whoa, futuristic Puzzle Quest. This game is very underrated.

Lord_Daemon
Lord_Daemon

Not a huge sci-fi fan but I was very impressed with the first Puzzle Quest so I'll definitely check this out.

drummer131
drummer131

Even though I'm a fan of RPGs, the first Puzzle Quest just looked really lame to me. I'm sure the gameplay was there, but the RPG theme turned me off bigtime (just, aesthetically, it bothered me). Now this comes along and I'm sold. I am just...this is mine, already, even though I haven't bought it yet, cause I can't, cause it hasn't been released yet. I do feel bad for PSP owners wishing they could get a piece of this. I wonder why they couldn't get some love this time around.

grambyte
grambyte

Since playing the Puzzle Quest on Live Arcade I'm sold. So this one is mine! Can't wait.

z3dd1cu5
z3dd1cu5

"Rather than new tiles coming up from the bottom to replace cleared tiles" Huh? is there a version of the original in which they come from the bottom instead of the top? They definitely come from the top on the 360.

Hungry_bunny
Hungry_bunny

Never tried puzzle quest but this looks cool.

WizengamotX
WizengamotX

Definitely cool. This game reminds me of XBLA's Bejeweled.