The biggest problem is that it takes a simple concept and makes it too complicated. In the first game you always knew which way the tiles were going to fall (from the top), however in this game you really have to pay attention to the direction of the incoming tiles. You manipulate the tile direction based on how you move. For example, if you move the tile left, the new tiles will come from the left. On paper that sounds simple enough, but I found that I would often forget this rule and have trouble planning ahead. I suppose with practice I will get better at adhering to that rule, though this added complication didn't add anything to the gameplay.
The brand new board also means that more of the game is dependent on luck. Now I won't lie to you, there were times when I felt like the computer was cheating. But this takes that complaint to a whole new, um, solar system. No matter how strong my little spaceship got, I always felt like the computer had an unfair advantage. That's certainly not the attitude I wanted to take into each battle, but I couldn't help but feel that way after only a few missions.
Much like the original Puzzle Quest, each one of the tiles is vitally important to the match. Obviously there are the attack tiles, which are denoted by number tiles. The object is to match three (or more) of these numbered tiles up to do damage. Whatever the three (or more) numbers add up to is the amount of damage you will take off. The trick this time around is that most enemy ships will have a certain level of force fields that will need to be taken down. Once you take down the force field you are free to start damaging the ship, until one of your ships is destroyed.
But don't worry too much about losing your shields, because Puzzle Quest Galactrix allows you to repair your force fields by matching blue tiles. Other tiles are for your special attacks, which will be immediately recognizable to anybody who played the first game. You can also earn experience, which means that even if you lose the battle you will still get something out of it. Even though I'm disappointed by the new game board, I am a big fan of the shield system and feel that there are some improvements to the tile system that should be brought up to over, better Puzzle Quest games.
Puzzle Quest Galactrix does make an attempt to spice things up with some variety. While you will still need to take down enemy spaceships in a one-on-one duel to the death, the game offers a lot of other mini-games to keep you entertained. The most common mini-game comes when you attempt to open up the various "Leap Gates" linking the various galaxies. To hack these gates you are given a standard board and a bunch of colors you need to match in order. For example, you might be asked to match green, silver and then blue. While you might be able to match silver and blue, you will first need to match green in order to move over to the other two colors.
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