Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm On A Quest!

I spent almost all of my game time over the last week playing World of Warcraft and Puzzle Quest: Galactrix. I acquired a lot more though: Peggle Deluxe and Peggle Nights in a half-off deal on Steam, and then Super Stardust HD, Pixel Junk Monsters, and The Last Guy via gamesharing on PSN. I only really tried out Stardust, and that was just one round of it. I'll have to get around to all of those sometime.

The big new thing for me is, of course, Galactrix. I've been waiting for this game for at least a year, from the time the first screenshot was posted online. I was a huge addict to the original Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, the XBLA version. After a few hours with Galactrix (also XBLA; I hear the DS version has issues), I can say that I like it a lot. They had a killer combination to begin with, combining an addictive puzzle-battle game with the inherent hooks of character and story progression. They didn't need to change a whole lot, and wisely, they didn't.

The big differences, apart from the stock fantasy to stock science fiction swap, are the zero-gravity puzzle grids and greater character re-spec ability in place of different classes. Matches are now made vertically or diagonally (the hexagon pieces have no left-right oriented faces), and new pieces fall into the board in from the direction that the last move was made from. Also, you can have up to three ships to switch between, each outfitted with different equipment and abilities. It has that same variety of puzzle games to fight battles, craft items, mine resources, haggle with traders, and open leap gates for faster-than-light travel.

This brings me to the one major gripe people seem to have with Galactrix, the leap gate hacking. You need to hack a leap gate in order to access it to jump to the next star system. You do this a lot. This is also the only timed puzzle variant, and the only one that can really stop you in your tracks if you are unable to complete it. I haven't had too much trouble with the gates yet, myself, but I can see it getting repetitive (but the same could be said of every other puzzle variant, too), and I haven't had gates close on me yet, though I hear it happens after some time. We'll have to see how that shakes out, but so far I'm totally into the game. It's more or less just what I was expecting.

This weekend was another spent on mad questing in WoW. I spent a bunch of time in both Stranglethorn Vale and Arathi Highlands doing a bunch of quests, and went and did my first battleground PVP in Arathi Basin. It was a lot of fun. I went from level 38 to 41, and also got my first couple of world honorable kills in addition to a ton in the battleground. It's amazing how so much time spent can be summed up in so little writing.

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