Have you ever wanted to work in video games? Well that's what the guys at GameBizCo Inc. do. Literally.
Join the cast of Another Videogame Webcomic as we peek behind the curtain to see what exactly goes into bringing your favorite video games to the small screen. It may be a job in video games, but it's still a job.
Puzzle Quest: Galactrix
$29.99 (DS), $19.99 (PC)
Everyone goes through a Bejeweled phase. I don't know what it is about matching colored gems and watching them disappear, but it's simple yet addictive. The original Puzzle Quest, Challenge of the Warlords, added fantasy RPG elements to Bejeweled with varying degrees of success. Puzzle Quest: Galactrix adds sci-fi RPG elements and layers of complexity, but does it top the original Puzzle Quest or even Bejeweled?
The biggest change in Galactrix is the puzzle board. Unlike most other variations on Bejeweled, Galactrix uses a board based on a hexagon instead of a square. Instead of gems falling in one direction (down!), they now fall from one of six directions depending on which way you swap the gems. It fits well in the space motif as it gives the sense of a lack of gravity but it does take some time to get used to.
All of the major elements (battle, hacking, mining, haggling and crafting) in Galactrix are based on variations on this more complex version of Bejeweled. When battling against an opponent, matching up different types of gems allows you to damage your opponent or gain energy reserves to activate special abilities during the match. Hacking provides a timed version of the game requiring you to remove a set sequence of colored gems before moving on and allowing you access to other star systems. Mining sets a quota of resource gems that need to be removed but the board fills with empty, non-removable gems the more you play. These resource gems are either used to craft items or to sell and receive credits to buy other items. Haggling sets a quota for the total number of gems that need to be removed and as a reward gives a discount on purchasable items in the game. Finally, crafting allows you to make items from the plans you win after defeating enemies in battle.
In addition to matching gems, Galactrix features different factions which you can ally yourself with by completing missions given by the factions. In turn, allying yourself with one or more factions allows safe passage through their star systems and not-so-safe passage from the enemies of your allied factions. These elements make the game more intricate for players looking for more than just your average game of Bejeweled.
But surprisingly, Galactrix removes some of the complexity found in it's predecessor, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. Galactrix only offers two character classes to choose from, a male and female, but both classes play the exact same campaign. Each of the classes has access to the exact same equipment and abilities so your choice is basically, do you want to stare at a guy or a girl for the reported 100 or so hours it takes to do everything in the game.
What they don't tell you is that a lot of those 100 or so hours is due to waiting. There are load screens between everything. EVERYTHING. I almost wish there wasn't an autosave feature so I could choose when to save and minimize at least the game save load screen. Some of those 100 hours are also probably spent replaying failed missions because of the imprecise stylus input. From the menu screens to the puzzle board, it's frustrating when you fail and have to replay a portion of the game because of the input method and not your skill.
I found myself playing Puzzle Quest: Galactrix in small bursts. It's an interesting variation on the addictive puzzle game we all know. But because it's so repetitive, I couldn't play it for long stretches which, I guess, is perfect for a portable game. It's totally worth playing if you can't get enough Bejeweled. But the sci-fi RPG elements aren't enough to make Galactrix a must buy. All things considered, it's worth a "rent"
. Try it and see if you like it. If you can get over the inaccurate controls and numerous load screens, there's an interesting game underneath.
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
- This is the original Bejeweled plus something else game and, in my opinion, superior to it's sequel. The simpler board is exactly the same as Bejeweled, but the various character classes gives it a little variation and more replayability than Galactrix offers.
Bejeweled - Hey, why not recommend the original? You play it for free online and it's a nice distraction and provides the perfect amount of procrastination.
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First Appearance: Bonus Stage! Here comes Player One!
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First Appearance: World Record
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