Wednesday, March 11, 2009
My review of Puzzle Quest: Galactrix is online now at thephoenix.com. There is a lot I don't understand about this game -- that much, at least, comes through in the article -- but with some distance I now think the bigger problem might be the shoddy execution of the Nintendo DS version. I think so partly because of Bill Harris's lauding of the PC version (see here and here), and also because I've played the downloadable PC demo and the web demo, which are both miles beyond the handheld version in presentation, smoothness, and playability. Should be said, too, that I played Challenge of the Warlords on PSP, which was executed well on a technical level, but had other issues.
The DS version, though, is ugly. It's hard to look at. The colors are washed out and the overall look is grainy. New gems don't slide smoothly onto the screen -- they pop into view. The touchscreen detection, as I mention in the review, is iffy. The audio is scratchy. It's just not a pleasant game to interact with. While I failed to engage the finer points of the RPG mechanics, that's only partly due to my well-documented idiocy in these matters. It's also because it's hard to get past such an off-putting surface.
Did I expect a graphical powerhouse from a Nintendo DS game? No. But I was taken aback when I first booted up Galactrix, and that feeling never went away.