Whenever a sequel is announced, fans immediately create their own set of expectations. While Puzzle Quest: Galactrix is a spin-off rather than the true sequel to Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords; this does not change the fact this is a blatant disappointment. Perhaps my high expectations of this new title merely crushed my hopes, but I can't help but feel the absence of enjoyment I once had from Puzzle Quest. Fans of the original might still salvage some fun out of Galactrix, but newbies have no reason to choose this over the first game.
A risky move Infinite Interactive made was moving the setting of the series. Challenge of the Warlords was set in somewhat of a “Dark Ages” atmosphere. Galactrix takes place in the far future, space specifically. Originally battle was themed around two warriors in battle; which has now been replaced with giant space ships launching lasers and missiles at one another. Though on its own, this new theme has no influence on gameplay- the futuristic feel they aspired for may be the reason things went so awfully. What was once a Bejeweled clone with amazing RPG elements has transferred to become a frustratingly random chore of a game. Trading in traditional block swapping format to a newer hexagonal method was a poor choice. New shapes can now fall in from any direction, depending on the last move made. Though you can predict where new shapes will appear, this does not prevent the high possibility of matches being ended in one move due to your opponent seemingly having the best luck on the planet.
The concept of Puzzle Quest is still as exciting as it used to be. Mixing an RPG with puzzle gameplay gave reason for serious gamers to play a puzzler. Yet whatever good writing that was put into CotW seems to have disappeared during the voyage to space. Characters struck me as empty husks containing stories I had no interest in. The length of the game warrants a $15 purchase, but finishing the title is a boring and unengaging experience not worth seeing through. Perhaps if balancing existed within Galactrix I could say it is enjoyable. However it seemed to me that while bosses were presented every few missions, immense amounts of grinding was a requisite to defeat them. CotW featured near perfect progression, piled with gameplay that actually worked- overall creating a much more fun game. Why purchase the frustrating and overly difficult version in the series?
One trait still standing strong is the artwork and audio properties. Artwork is relaxing and detailed, forming a realistic environment. Futuristic sounds were captured properly, with music that doesn't bore one to tears. Though I would have preferred more exciting character art, I won't be one to criticize for such a choice. These are some of the aspects that still stood strongly. Too bad everything else kind of fell short.
In the end, it's in everyone’s best interest to forget Galactrix ever happened. Instead of purchasing Galactrix I would suggest getting Challenge of the Warlords, and even the accompanying DLC. Sacrificing perfect elements to attempt something new was a risk that just didn't pay off. I won't denounce my love for the series anytime soon, though I am praying that the true Puzzle Quest 2 goes back to its roots and isn't such a letdown. Avoid this title at all costs, though it only makes the original look that much better.