Saving the Galaxy, Three Colored Gems At A Time

If you had asked any non-casual gamer their opinion of puzzle games like Bejeweled before 2007, most would have sneered at you. Puzzle games were for grandmas and little girls. Then along came Infinity Interactive, shoving puzzle games into bed with RPG’s like  an unwilling arranged marriage. Yet somehow, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords not only didn’t suck but was awesome. Suddenly, hard core RPG consumers were moving around colored blocks to collect magic, experience and money.

Original Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

Original Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

Now, as this comic shows, fighting an enemy through a series of tile moves seems absurd when looked at through the lens of reality. And like other RPG’s it was easy to wander into areas WAY to high for your level. But Puzzle Quest managed to mostly dance on the edge, artfully blending strategy, story, party members and random encounters into an experience that wasn’t only fun and addictive, but seemed like a natural fit. Why hadn’t we thought of this before? It’s like discovering peanut butter and banana sandwiches for the first time.

Taking their success and running with it, publisher D3Publisher took the formula that worked so well of high fantasy and used it to create this year’s sequel, Puzzle Quest: Galatrix. Like the name implies, the game is based in a galaxy spanning space epic. Changing a few gameplay elements, such as the board shape and letting gravity affect how fast the blocks fall, the game maintains the addictive combination that made the original so much awesome.

Hexagons are sexier than squares.

Hexagons are sexier than squares.

Already released for for PC and the DS, it was announced today that the game will be dropping on XBLA on April 8th. There are also plans to release it on the Playstation Network but no date was set at this time.

A little bit more information about the game and its features. From the press release:

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix from Infinite Interactive will launch for Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft on April 8th, 2009. Puzzle Quest: Galactrix will support online multiplayer, matchmaking, leaderboards, voice chat and more for a full-spectrum online play experience.

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix is an exciting new addition to the Puzzle Quest universe, incorporating a compelling blend of casual and hardcore gameplay elements, similar to those adored by fans of the critically acclaimed Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, into an all-new futuristic, science-fiction setting. An all-new hexagonal puzzle board allows an extra layer of strategy for players who crave it and the upgradeable spacecraft options allow players to create, develop and customise the ultimate fleet. A rich and detailed storyline and fresh gameplay elements make the world of Puzzle Quest: Galactrix a captivating new adventure to explore and conquer.

Even if you still think puzzle games are for grandmas and little girls, do yourself a favor on April 8th (or at an unconfirmed date in the future for you PS3 fans out there) and download the demo with an open-ish mind. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much depth is involved in matching three of a kind.

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