Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Genre: Puzzle
Release Date: 02/24/09
D3 was at E3 and had several PC's running the latest build of the upcoming puzzle title Puzzle Quest: Galactrix. While it would have been possible for Developer Infinite Interactive to take the original Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords and just add a science fiction theme to it for Galactrix--the Developer has gone the extra mile, listened to fan feedback, and created an entire new experience.
Like the original Puzzle Quest, Galactrix will contain the same type of story elements. This time they are focusing on a science fiction storyline that will have you control a young pilot that is just out of training. Your avatar will be a ship that you create. In the build shown at E3 2008, were were playing a quick battle against a random CPU creature.
Developer Infinite Interactive wanted to evolve the franchise and make it stand out as a different title than the first Puzzle Quest. To do this, they changed the entire gameplay mechanic from the familiar square Bejeweled look and moved it into a circle playing field. This accomplishes several things. The most evident is that it looks dramatically different than the original title. But beyond the look of the game, it plays entirely different without losing the fun or charm of the original.
Your goal is still to deplete the HP of your enemy, before they do the same to you, by matching three or more bombs in a row. As you match other colored tiles, you will be able to use a variety of special abilities and powers that the player will develop as their experience increases. This may sound exactly like Challenge of the Warlords--but there is one big difference. When you make a move, pieces no longer fall from the top of the screen. Instead, they will come from the side you make your move from. This accomplishes one of the biggest problems with the original Puzzle Quest and ensures that you can no longer be trapped into a corner.
We were not able to see any of the story elements or any screens outside of the quick battle. There will only be Xbox Live Arcade, PC, and Nintendo DS versions available when the title ships next year. When I pressed the developer about versions for the PSP, Mac, PS3, Wii, and iPhone, the only answer I would get was that they have only committed to making Galactrix for these specific platforms but that it could very well appear on more platforms in the near future.
In my opinion, Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, and its predecessor Challenge of the Warlords, needs to show up on the iPhone sooner rather than later. Hopefully we will see more of Galactrix in the coming days. Right now, this is the very best puzzle game I have played at E3.