If you find yourself easily captivated by puzzles and bright colors, D3's Puzzle Quest Galactrix might just be the game for you.
In this so-called 'cousin' of the original title, Galactrix combines an RPG battle with a color based puzzle board to surprising success. Though the idea of a puzzle game having a story seemed redundant to me, the team was excited enough that they didn't want to spoil the plot. They did reveal that it takes place in the future (I heard 20,000 years mentioned once), when humankind has populated many of the stars and systems in the sky. Four super-corporations have taken control of the galaxy and one of them seems to be conducting some human genetic experiments that might lead to the impending demise of the species. You're a pilot on a starship and your goal is to battle various enemies to gain enough skill to bring down the corporation as a whole.
If you played Puzzle Quest for more than thirty seconds, you'll recognize the gem-based game play style used in Galactrix, though there are some improvements over the original. The tiles are now hexagonal shaped, meaning that the game board upon which the tiles are placed is rounded, without four specific sides. This allows for the tiles to enter from all sides, rather than just the top of the screen.
As well, each tile color corresponds to a specific aspect of your ship or crew. Create a blue combo, and recharge your ship's shields. Red relates to weapons, yellow to energy, green to defence and computer, white to the intelligence of the crew and purple controls psionic, which allows you to avoid battles with lower experienced enemies.
Though D3 was holding the cards tight to their chest when showing off their game in demo, the reps opened up after some careful prodding and revealed that the game will no longer take place in one world, but across an entire galaxy. There was mention of building custom ships, jump gates for faster travel, asteroid mining, an interstellar diplomacy system and a commodity system that controlled inner game play.
With great looking graphics and an ever addictive puzzle concept, Galactrix is looking like a very solid addition to the franchise. D3 told us to expect it near the end of the first quarter of 2009 on PC, Xbox Live Arcade and Nintendo DS.