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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

Platform:DS, PC
Price: $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.

Rating

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.

Recommendations

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.

Player Two

After the resurgence of multiplayer co-op, GameBizCo Inc. hired Player Two to be the Goose to someone else's Maverick. His workload isn't quite as heavy as most of the other people working at GameBizCo Inc. and as a result, he spends a lot of time in the break room or playing computer solitaire.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction

Player One

Player One is top dog at GameBizCo Inc. Nearly every game, from Pong to Mario Bros to Grand Theft Auto, requires Player One's expertise. His cocksure and sometimes inappropriate attitude is an annoyance to his coworkers but seeing as every game needs a first player, they make due.
First Appearance: Bonus Stage! Here comes Player One!

Damsel I. Distress

Whether it be a castle, a dungeon or mystical island, Damsel always needs to be saved... and she hates it. Damsel longs for the day when she's given the role of a strong female lead character who doesn't have huge breasts with hyper accurate physics.
First Appearance: LittleBIGPlanet

Final Boss

Underneath the huge brute that is Final Boss lies a timid creature who wouldn't hurt a fly. He puts on his "angry face" when throwing barrels down ramps or breathing fire but deep down he feels sorry for doing so. He's been known to throw a game or two in the player's favor.
First Appearance: World Record

John Minion

John Minion, or Min for short, is the hardest working employee at GameBizCo Inc. Playing everything from Goombas to no name thugs, Min gets beat up on a daily basis but loves every minute of it. He always wanted to work in the gaming industry and was originally hired as an intern. After years of getting coffee, his big break came when someone called in sick... and the rest is history.
First Appearance: Watchmen: The End is Nigh

Middle Manager

Middle Manager works in the Human Resources department. He runs staff meetings and interviews prospective employees. The other 90% of his time is spent playing Freecell on his computer.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction

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