Infinite Interactive's upcoming Puzzle Quest Galactrix is now available to sample thanks to a Flash demo that allows you to play through a typical battle.
Like the original Puzzle Quest, Galactrix is a mixture of RPG tropes and turn-based competitive puzzle game mechanics, except in this case the simple square-grid match-three gameplay has been upgraded to a hexagonal system.
This means you have different options to create your lines of three, and in another twist gravity shifts depending on the direction you move hexagons to form lines. So, if you move a hexagon downward to make a line of three, the gap will be filled from above, but if you move a hexagon left to do the gap will be filled from the right.
Otherwise mechanics are similar: there are specific blocks that deal damage (mines this time, rather than skulls), and as you level up you unlock special attacks and buffs that can be deployed on your turn.
Outside the battles, you roam space in a more freeform manner than Puzzle Quest's set pathways, guiding a ship with (on the PC at least) the mouse pointer and visiting space stations, asteroids and other areas to get into fights and meet people. Along the way you also do some mining and perform other tasks that twist the core puzzle formula to function in different ways.
Although Infinite Interactive has applied the Puzzle Quest formula to another game in the meantime - Capcom's Neopets Puzzle Adventure, due out in Europe on Friday 23rd January - Galactrix appears to be closer to the original game, not just in style but also in quality and compulsiveness.
The full game is due out for Xbox Live Arcade, PC, DS and - judging by a logo on the Flash demo site - PlayStation Network in the next couple of months. Look out for our review soon.