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Archive for April 4th, 2009

I’ve reached the “endgame” of Puzzle Quest Galactrix.  I’ve crafted the most difficult ships, beat up all the bad guys (that the game allows me to), and now I’m just idling around the galaxy in my UberShipOfDoom, blowing up ships for their rare loot drops.  In other words, I’ve done all the stuff in the game that requires skill, and I’m into the grind.   How… less than fulfilling.

Thing is, I want to play with those loot drops (rare crafting recipes only available through slaughter and RNG blessing) to see all the game has to offer.  I’ll probably move on soon enough, without fully satisfying my completionist urge, but I am left wondering a few things.

I can mine resources from random asteroids, and turn around and sell them to the various factions to curry their favor.  Never mind that you’ve been blowing up their expensive ships and slaughtering their best pilots, you can make them like you by selling them goods at marked up prices.  Yay for the market!

Tangent… why can’t I buy goods?  When I use goods to craft, I have to go mine them myself.  Lame.

Anyway, why can’t I just go to these other factions and buy their unique tech?  Making them only available via rare loot drop is cheap padding.  Why can’t devs trust that their games are fun to play, and drop the stupid rare loot ethos?  And even if they keep them for those who love the grind/gamble, why not include an option to buy them outright via the diplomatic route of cold hard cash?  Or even have some real diplomacy questlines with guaranteed rewards, if grinding up cash isn’t “legit” enough?  Or maybe even some non-quest freeform diplomacy?

It just reeks of lazy design on rails.  Rare loot?  Check.  Faction standing (with little real repercussions)?  Check.  A main protagonist (player character) who is supposed to be a brilliant commando type but displays street savvy of a cardboard box?  Check.  Bleh.

The core hex board game of Galactrix is a blast, so I’m still very happy to have the game, warts and all… it’s just the little niggling things that make me think that it could have used a bit more time in the oven to make the overall game better.

Oh, and the word is “supernova”.  When I see a sci-fi game spelling it “supanova”, some credibility dies.

Sigh.  At least the meat of the game, the puzzle board, is still fun to play with.  It’s also something that I’m likely to come back to on occasion, like its older brother PQ Warlords.  As is common with my complaints, it’s just another case of missed opportunities.  Those make me sad.

(And yes, there are MMO parallels, but I won’t belabor the obvious.  This time, anyway.)

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