Posted: February 19
I usually satisfy myself with mindless clicking at things that move, clubbing zombies and “flamethrowing” aliens enough to make a batter-happy Flintstone giddy. After a while the repetitive slashing and gouging puts a strain on my steadily numbing mind and I need a break. Brainiac games like Hexcells provides that pause from the world of action titles that many gamers find soothing from time to time. The minimalistic interface calms you to the core like entering your hotel room, the first day of your sunny beach-filled holiday. Easy-peasy controls and rules, as most strategic puzzle games tend to excel in, are explained through directions (though for Level 1 I felt the couple of trial plays planted in the beginning of each rule change, would have sufficed). I’ve seen plenty of reviews exclaiming it as comfortably easy to finish, which isn’t quite true as new rules are added regularly and consistently starting at Level 11. This lessens repertoire and makes Hexcells highly entertaining for a puzzle game of its kind. It calls for the elimination and deduction tools we have honed through countless hours of playing games such as Sudoku and Minesweeper. There is no timer so in a sense is closer to a Sudoku that’s pleasing to the eye. Hexcells adds the “chic” that Sudoku lacks and the logicality which Minesweeper is deficient in through functions which allow no room for the guessing games and visuality to match. No function is lacking or overdone in Hexcells. As Goldilocks would say, “It’s just right.” It is one of the most accessible and convenient game I have ever played. The UI looks fantastic for touch screens and as I’ve been marooned on my laptop for a few months, it’s always heaven to play low spec games that won’t freeze mid-play and still provide high quality content to keep me amused for consecutive hours. It is also a great game for a few minutes here and there as an easy to start, continue and leave at any time type game that doesn’t bore. For example, the widely loved classic, Peggle will have me dozing off in a few minutes flat although it’s a sweet little thing.
The intermediate level starts around Lv. 18-19 and I started finding it mind boggling beginning at Lv. 22. After that point some are comparatively easier than others which didn’t reflect the actual order or the levels. Thank goodness because the couple of easier levels here and there let me hang on to my sanity!
Most of the reviews I’ve read stated plenty of appreciation towards the needlessness of guessing the answers. There is 0% need to speculate and everything must be calculated if you want to play the game to its maximum. Keep in mind that if you mess up once you’ll end up with the obvious answer which means it’s extremely easy to use trial and error to pick through the games effortlessly. This sucks all the fun out of it so I suggest you aim for 100% accuracy each time you play or try and forget the hex you just wrongly clicked and move on to something else so you won’t end up getting everything easy. Another tip I have is to try playing it as fast as your mind will think and fingers will click because the music sounds better that way. It has one of those almost interactive tracks so that what and how you click will determine a different sound that in turns melds into the original score underneath it.
In all honestly, the aspect the feature I enjoyed the least was the music in Hexcells as it is repetitive and some parts sound like an orchestra of mobile phones with annoying, monotonous ringtones. (Note: I understand that there was only so much the developer could do and it wasn't that bad, I'm just used to better soundtracks is all. ;D) Which is why I eventually turned down the volume and even then I still couldn’t quite stand it. It wasn’t the relaxed ambience I was hoping for but it wasn’t as noticeable when playing at a faster pace (clicking hexes in acceleration) for reasons already noted above. A better example would be Duet, the strategic arcade game by Kumobius (iOS/Android). The music is directed via the player’s fingertips as they go through the puzzles and it is scored in a way that’s surprisingly meditative for a game of somewhat high difficulty. The fluidity of a game’s soundtrack influences a massive portion of its play mood in any genre. Other than that, I’m interested in buying the other two as well for a rainy day and hope the background music is a tad better than the first one.