Another week and another puzzler to push my brain to its limit. This time around we have the number-based Hexologic, a game not too dissimilar to the much-loved Sudoku puzzles. With the genre already starting to feel a little crowded on the Nintendo eShop, does MythicOwl’s addition to its library do enough to set itself apart?
Hexologic involves grids of hexagons, the outermost of which have numbers attached. These numbers signify the amount of dots that each hexagon along that line needs to total up to. The player must then assign either one, two or three dots to each one making sure these requirements are met. So for example, if you have three hexagons in a row with a number six beside them, you will need to make sure they quate to six dots between them whether that’s by assigning them all with two each or mixing it up with a one, two, three combo.
Of course, that sounds easy when just dealing with one line of hexagons, but just like Sudoku, when you need to consider a whole grid and any rows intersecting with one another things start to become more difficult. Those two dots you placed in one hexagon, for example, may allow one row to add up to the correct number but unfortunately, it might not work for another.
At first, this can be a relatively easy process, the game’s opening puzzles posing little threat. As you advance though, not only do the grids themselves grow in both size and complexity but you’ll also be faced with some new elements too. Grey hexagons make things more difficult by including a fixed number of dots sometimes even exceeding the usual one to three limit. Later in the game, you’ll also find hexagons with coloured borders. If you change the number of dots within one then any other hexagon featuring the same coloured border will also change too.
You’ll be called upon throughout on your ability to analyse the grid and choose the right numbers for the right hexagons. Just like any puzzler, you’ll hit the occasional wall, banging your head on certain puzzles that push you to your limits. Can it be frustrating? Sure, but nothing a short break can’t fix. The satisfaction of finally nailing a tough puzzle is also enough to keep you going.
Visually Hexologic isn’t anything special, the game showing its smartphone roots right from the beginning. Saying that it’s pastel-like colours and clean presentation do have a certain appeal especially when coupled with the soothing music played throughout. There’s something calming about the look and feel of Hexologic I can appreciate.
Perhaps the biggest negative you could say about Hexologic is that it’s over far too quickly. At just sixty puzzles (and a small handful extra to unlock) it shouldn’t take you too long to see everything the game has to offer. In fact, within ten minutes I’d already flown through the first ten or so puzzles all of them extremely simple and acting pretty much as a tutorial to what lies ahead. The lacking content is helped by a price that reflects this however it seems a shame there’s not more than there is. There definitely seems like there’s room for this puzzler to grow and more mechanics that could be included.
After playing so many highly tense puzzlers, Hexologic is a nice change of pace delivering a much more chilled experience that’s as easy to unwind with as it is to pick up. A lack of content might make this a rather short-lived experience but it’s one that feels fair for the low price it asks. The eShop may not exactly be short of puzzlers at the moment but Hexologic’s pleasant vibe and satisfying brainteasers are enough to make this cheaper release worth a look.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by MythicOwl