Indie Quickie: Puzzle Galaxies

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What is it and who made it? A jewel matching puzzler made by Evermore Game Studios and published by Sometimes You.

What platforms is it on and how much does it cost? Grab it from Steam (PC/Mac) for just $0.99.

How much did we play? Finished 36 of the game’s 68 total puzzles in a little over an hour.

Any technical concerns, hardware requirements, or other details you should know about? Not really. On the plus side, I was pleasantly surprised with the game’s offerings of options for resolution adjustment, music/sound volume, mouse sensitivity, toggling tutorials on/off, and playing with or without a time limit. I didn’t see an option for playing in windowed view though.

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Why should you play it?

    We’ve all played match-3 puzzle games before, and they’re good, simple fun for what they are, but this game deserves credit for at least trying something different with the familiar formula. Puzzle Galaxies is built around the same idea of matching gems to clear them from the screen. However, the twist here is that the play area consists of a space station made up of different pod configurations, each pod containing four colored gems. To power up the space station for launch and complete the stage, each pod needs to be activated by containing four same-colored gems, which is done by clicking on a gem from one pod and clicking a second pod to swap with another gem, and then repeating across the grid until all pods are clear. The early puzzles start with space stations of only five pods, but as you work your way deeper into the puzzle galaxy the levels grow to sizes of 12 and 15 pods (I’m not sure if they get any larger later on).

    Although there’s an option to play with unlimited time, by default the main challenge comes from racing against a clock to match all pods within a time limit. Enemy space ships add another interesting wrinkle to the intergalactic puzzling by swarming around like space gnats randomly nabbing gems and flying around for a moment before dropping them down in other pods, just to try to throw you off. Some ships fly really fast, others are larger and capable of grabbing two gems at a time instead of one, and all like to swoop down at the worst time to steal a gem you had eyes on (it feels good to make a match and launch a pod right when a ship is about to strike the same pod). The game hasn’t been especially challenging so far, but playing with the timer on definitely adds a feeling of urgency to move quickly before the space ships screw around with the board too much. If you care about high scores, bonus points are earned based on the amount of time left on the clock, as well as how many moves were needed to match all the pods.

Parting Thoughts: The game could certainly use more presentational pop as the audiovisual elements are the very definition of nondescript, but it’s hard to get too critical and nitpicky about that stuff with a 99-cent casual puzzler. If you enjoy passing time by matching jewels but are tired of the same old match-3 format, Puzzle Galaxies may just be the refreshing change of pace you’re looking for.

What is Indie Quickie? It takes a lot longer to fully review a game than it does to get a good sense of what a game is. Even with a full-time staff of writers it would be impossible to fully review the thousands of games that are released every year. Indie Quickie is our way to offer snap impressions of the countless indie titles small teams and one-man game studios are releasing literally every single day, and to help guide players to worthwhile games they may not have heard about before.

Disclosure: A Steam code for Puzzle Galaxies was provided to VGBlogger.com by the game’s publisher.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!