Hexagonal iPhone puzzle fun.
When it comes to puzzle games on the iPhone, one particular sub genre stands out as being almost perfect for the Apple handheld. The match three games are plentiful and with good reason. The genre offers quick and easy to pick up action that works incredibly well with the touch screen control. So, at first glance, players may be thinking that Hexius, from Phasic Labs, is just another entry into that already crowded sub genre.
But, upon closer inspection, Hexius actually has as much in common with elimintation games where the player has to locate a certain item upon a crowded screen. By combining these two sub genres of puzzle game, Phasic Labs has created a very interesting beast indeed.
The concept is quite simple. The screen is filled with hexagons that contain different symbols of different colours. To score, the player selects a symbol of a specific colour and then must remove all of the same coloured symbols from the screen. The order in which these are selected creates a path and all symbols that the path passes over are eliminated, giving the player a score.
There is more too than this. The order in which the matching symbols are selected needs thought as crossing paths will result in a locked hexagon. Also, accidentally selecting an unmatching symbol will unselect all of the symbols already selected, losing valuable time. There is also help at hand in the form of hexagons that will slow down time or even explode, increasing the score.
There are three different playing modes available; time attack, level challenge and strategy. Time attack challenges the player to score as high as possible within a fixed time limit. The level challenge works in the same way, with a time limit, but the player will see special hexagons on the screen which must be eliminated in order to progress. Once these are removed, the player moves onto the next level, taking with them any time that they had remaining. The final mode, strategy, finally gives the player a chance to think. This time around the player must achieve the highest score possible within a certain number of moves.
The integration of OpenFeint brings with it the possibility of social interaction and competition, as long as you can convince your buddies to buy the game aswell.
The game looks and sounds good, and is responsive with it’s controls. But the same can be said of a huge number of iPhone puzzle games out there, Hexius needs a bit more than this to stand out. Fortunately the combined matching/elimination gameplay works really well and, especially in the modes with a time limit, offers a frantic experience. Getting a big score is as much down to luck as skill. Making the perfect path across the screen is something that takes time and planning, but with the time limit the player has to rush and will make mistakes. This simple mechanic imbues the game with that “just one more try” feeling, as the player tries not to repeat mistakes made previously.
Whilst not exactly breaking new ground within the puzzle genre, Hexius does offer something new and different to other puzzle offerings. If puzzle games are your thing, give Hexius a try. It does not disappoint.
Hexius, from Phasic Labs, is available on the App Store for just Â£0.59