More hardcore than PQ1, but still as addictive. Don't be discouraged by early setbacks - this game rewards skill.
I think the main reason for this is that it feels a lot more hardcore than the original PQ. It's got that gritty space thing going, it's got the hex gems, and it requires more thought to play. Infinite Interactive are really showing their hardcore origins in wargaming here - using the hex board and changing objectives in ways that make you completely rethink your strategy at every step.
I think a lot of reviews will say the combats are too luck-based, but I have found them less so than the original. Once you start seeing the patterns and ways to manipulate the board, you realize you have a lot more power over the game than PQ1.
So if you don't like scifi at all, or you like your games uber-uber-casual, I'd find it hard to recommend this game. If you fondly remember Elite, Star Control, X-Wing, etc... then I think you're going to be one of those who love this like I do.
In short, I think that Puzzle Quest: Galactrix succeeds 100% in what it sets out to do, which is to create a version of Puzzle Quest that appeals to a light harder-core market who think spaceships are cool.